The Element Iron

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The Element Iron


Iron comes from the Latin word ferrum. From ferrum its symbol became Fe. The atomic number
of iron is 26, and its atomic weight is 55.845. Iron is a magnetic, bendable, shiny white
metallic element.


Pure iron has a hardness that ranges from 4 to 5. It is soft and ductile. Iron can be
easily magnetized at ordinary temperatures and at 790C the magnetic property disappears.
Pure iron melts at about 1535C, boils at 2750C, and has a specific gravity of 7.86.
Chemically, iron is an active metal. When exposed to humid air, iron forms a
reddish-brown, flaky, decay known as rust.


Iron is the fourth most abundant element in the Earths crust. Because it is so common,
iron has been used by human society for thousands of years. Iron was known and used for
weapons in prehistoric ages, the earliest example still in existence; a group of rusty
iron beads found in Egypt, dates from about 4000BC. This period in history was given the
name Iron Age because it was the time when people found ways to get iron and to use it for
building tools and weapons.


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