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Iron, "Fe", atomic number 26, is one of the most common structural metals ever used in the form of steel, which is often >95% iron, alloyed very lightly with carbon, and possibly a few other metals. Iron is very common on the earth's surface, black "magnatite" iron ore(Fe3O4) can be found in almost any soil on the planet in the form of black grains of sand just be running a magnet through it.

Almost everything structural is made of steel, cars, bridges, appliances, uncountable other things, partly because it's easy to find but also because it's fairly easy to work with, it's soft enough you can roll it into thin sheets or wire, but still strong enough to be useful in larger applications.

Iron also rusts, which is a fairly big problem, because the rust will flake and fall off, showing more steel which will in turn do the same. This can be fixed by painting, which must also be replaced from time to time, or by alloying chromium into the steel to make so-called "stainless steel", but this is several times more expensive.

To make iron, they take iron ore in the form of magnatite above or many other natural iron compounds, and heat it in massive blast furnaces with coal. This coal supplies carbon, which persuades the oxygen away from the iron ore, but this carbon is also mixed into the iron, resulting in steel(which nobody really minds, or bothers to stop). Because of this, even with all this steel around, pure iron is surprisingly hard to find, because it's just not as useful. I've yet to find any actual uses for it as I write this.

These are my samples!

Electrolytic Iron Chips

These chips of iron where made by plating iron through a liquid solution into a thick layer, then cracking the layer off into pieces. This method makes much more pure iron then the normal method of chucking some ore into a heap of burning coal and collecting it as it dribbles out the bottom, which normally results in the coal (carbon) mixing with it and making steel.

Donated along with some iodine, tungsten, and vanadium by a very generous David Green, you can find the other samples by searching his name.

Date added(year-month-day):20110913, sample number:70

Tags(Elements in sample):iron, david green

Steel Block

This is a nice big hunk of steel, being an alloy of between 90-99.99% iron, with the rest being carbon and maybe a few other metals to add strength. Chromium can be added to make it "stainless" steel because chromium doesn't easily corrode, but due to the rust, it's pretty clear this is NOT stainless.

Date added(year-month-day):20110724, sample number:19

Tags(Elements in sample):iron

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