Iron is a chemical element which displays the qualities of a metal. Its Latin name is Ferrum because of which it’s symbol is ‘Fe’. It is extracted from the earth and its appearance is generally lustrous with a metallic grey tinge to it.
Discovery of Iron Metal
The discoverer and the date of discovery are still unknown to the human today. According to the evidences available, researchers have said that humans likely used iron from meteorites. Meteorites which fell on the earth generally contain rocks and stones but some also consist of iron content over 90%.
But, ascertaining the founding of Iron is still very controversial. Iron corrodes easily in contact with air and water. So, artifacts of iron are much rarer than those of gold and silver. This makes it hard to trace the origins of iron.
The most ancient evidences date back to 7000 B.C. in Egypt. In Egypt some iron beads were found in graves which were about 7000 years old. Iron smelting evidences have been found in Mesopotamia (Iraq) around 5000 B.C. this shows how ancient iron was.
The most interesting fact is that, in those days iron was precious and expensive. It was used only for special and ceremonious occurrences. It was scarce and not easily found due to less knowledge of techniques and science.
The Iron Age
With the progression of time, human learnt how to use iron and started discovering more and more sites rich in iron. It began about 1300-1200 B.C. when iron became cheap enough to replace bronze. This happened because iron becomes in abundant at this time due to its discovery. It started to replace bronze at this time.
This age had a great impact on the areas of Europe and Asia. Iron dominated tool making. Iron production gained momentum with the technique of smelting of iron gaining popularity. Also, they learnt to remove impurities and developed alloys of iron with regulated amount of carbon.
This knowledge spread via sea people i.e. through the region sea route in different parts of world at different times. Steel i.e. carbon iron weighed nearly the same as bronze but its objects were still stronger and durable. Thus steel came to be preferred by people.
In India, Iron Age began with the late Harappan civilization using tools of iron to construct tools and equipments.
Where is iron found!
Iron is the most abundant element in earth’s crust and atmosphere. It is found in a large amount in universe as well. The Earth’s core mainly consists of iron. It is extracted from the ores in a blast furnace.
Uses of iron
Iron is an enigma- though it corrodes easily yet it is the most important of all metals. According to some statistics of all the metal refined yearly, 90% of it all constitutes iron.
Iron is a strong and cheap metal. It is commonly used in many different equipments, surgical devices and gadgets. In everyday life, Iron is not used individually because of its corroding properties.
However, it is used to develop some alloys which are actually necessary for the survival of human now. Some of these alloys are steel (mainly iron and carbon) and stainless steel (which is iron and chromium) stainless steel is basically a boon to the human world.
It is also known as inox because it’s ionizable. This quality of stainless steel makes it stand apart from other metals as it is inexpensive, strong and rust free.
Different uses of metal are listed below
- Iron chloride: iron chloride is used for the treatment of clogged drainage and sewage systems. Iron chloride is also used as a pigment in paints. Animal feed also consists of iron chloride, just like an addition to their diet. Circuit boards are also manufactured with the help of iron chloride.
- Iron sulphate: an alloy of iron sulphate is used for the treatment of anemia or iron deficiency.
- Iron hydroxide: this compound helps in the water purification process used in aqua guards or Ro’s to filter out impurities in water so as to provide safe drinking water. It ensures that pure and clean safe drinking water reaches our homes.
- Iron arsenic: this compound consists of iron and arsenic mixed in a fixed proportions. It is found in pesticides and insecticides due to its poisonous qualities.
Iron in our surroundings
Iron is everywhere is in fact a true statement. The wheels of revolution were made with the help of iron- the metal that continues to shape the world. It is found in a product as trivial as makeup to auto vehicles.
It makes up a major part of other products, items and things that keep our modern world in a running motion always. The reason for widespread usage of iron is its charismatic properties. It can be moulded and changed according to the needs of human beings. It is very flexible and its benefits cannot be denied.
Stainless steel is extensively used in building work of structure, ships, aircrafts, bridges, skyscrapers, etc. the framework of any structure is incomplete without the presence of iron.
Iron at home
Sometimes the utility of iron may not be visible to the naked eye but it does not degrade the importance of iron. Iron, in the form of stainless steel or even without it is used in our kitchens, bedrooms and even washrooms.
Intricate masterpieces are also constructed with the help of stainless steel; specially which are to be placed outdoors in gardens or lobbies.
Iron in our bodies
Iron is essentially needed by our bodies for its daily functions. It helps the red blood cells to transport oxygen to all parts in our body. Deficiency of iron causes anemia to fatigue, stress and tiredness. It plays a significant role in carrying out process within the cell.
These processes are responsible for the production of energy in human body. Even during pregnancy a woman’s requirement for iron increases by about 10-20 mg. the requirement increases due to the nutritional requirement of foetus.