History of iron

History of Iron

Evidence suggests that iron has been used since the last 5000 years. It is found everywhere across the world and it is the cheapest metal. Iron comes from minerals known as magnetite and hematite and it can also be found in other minerals like siderite, limonite and taconite.

It is a wide belief that iron came to Earth along with the meteors. The meteor iron had about 8% of nickel. Man made iron has been traced back in the 2500 BC. However iron making became extensive in the 1200 BC. Iron was mainly used for making beads and trinkets in the olden days. For doing that, the early people forged iron at a high temperature of above 1100 C.

Earth’s core is very rich in iron and the surface of earth is made up of nearly 5.6% of iron.

Hematite is an oxide of iron and was broadly used by the ancient cultures for making ornaments and beads, this was done by reducing carbon. If iron is reduced at temperatures below 700 – 800 C, it is not appropriate for forging and it must be produced at high temperature over 1100 C. The first form of iron known ti man was wrought iron. It is not easy to believe but iron was more expensive than gold hundreds of years back.

The use of iron resulted in invention of farming tools and weapons. It also plays an important role in architecture. The oldest pillar still found standing today is in India and it dates back to 400 AD. Surprisingly it is almost rust free. Iron is not found in pure state.

There are seven kinds of metal known today namely; iron, lead, gold, mercury, tin and copper. Electrum and Bronze are considered as alloys or half metals.

Iron is converted into steel which contains carbon of about 0.3 % — 1.5%. When other elements are combined with iron, they become useful. When iron is combined with, it easily gets rusty. When it is combined with nickel, it does not give acid and heat. Iron is also used in making bridges, buildings, furniture, paper clips, computer parts and much more.

Cast iron is used for making kitchen utensils like trays, cooking pans, oven and other several wares. For making steel, iron must combine with carbon and alloy. Steel contains between 0.3 % and 1.5% of carbon.

It is known widely that iron keeps plants and animals alive. Iron plays its role when plants make chlorophyll. Hemoglobin contains iron. Iron sulfate is used for treating anemia.

Iron is essential for human health and there are two kinds of iron found in our food; heme iron which comes from red meat, fish and eggs, and Non-heme iron which is found mostly in cereals, deep green vegetables and raisins. Heme iron is absorbed better by the body as compared to non-heme iron. The richest source of iron is liver.  

Iron is very important for muscles. Lack of iron invites weakness of mind and body. Human body stores about 10 % of all iron consumed from foods.

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