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What the name means: The word iron probably comes from the Anglo-Saxon word iren. Its chemical symbol is Fe, derived from the Latin word ferrum.
Who identified iron?: There is some evidence that iron was being used around 4000 BC. This means that the ancients were capable of extracting iron from its ores and crafting the metal into weapons and utensils. The European Iron Age began around 600 BC. The Chinese probably began steel making around 2500 BC!
STP = standard temperature and pressure.
About iron: Iron is mostly found as metal oxides in the ores hematite (Fe2O3) and magnetite (Fe3O4). When roasted with carbon at a high temperature, molten iron is produced. Adding small amounts of carbon to the molten iron will produce steel. Adding small amounts of chromium to the steel will produce stainless steel. Iron is one of the three elements that are magnetic (the others are nickel and cobalt). It is the presence of large amounts of iron and nickel in the Earth's core (its interior) that cause the Earth to have a magnetic field.
Iron will rust when in contact with the air (oxygen and water vapour) over a short period of time.
Iron is an essential element for all living things. In humans it is needed to make the chemical called haemoglobin that is found in the red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. Humans need to take in around 10mg of iron each day to remain healthy.
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