The Instrumentation Center

Iron

feContributor: Olivia Schaffner's AP Chemistry class, Edgerton High School 

About the Display: This display features:

  • Youngblood brand eyeshadow (Donated by Julia Smirnov) - Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics, which can be found locally at Refresh Center for Wellness & Cosmetic Therapy, use all natural minerals for their cosmetics instead of chemicals normally found in makeup. Among the ingredients are ultramarines (aluminum and sodium with sulfides or sulfates) titanium dioxide, iron oxides, chromium oxide greens, manganese violet, bismuth oxychloride, and ferric ferrocyanide.
  • Iron Oxide - Various shades of iron oxides can be seen in the rock in the display. The oxides can be used for paint, makeup, food coloring, coatings, and colored concrete.
  • Blood - About 70% of the body's iron is located in the blood and iron plays a very bloodimportant role in the function of blood. The iron is present in a protein called hemoglobin, which is in red blood cells. The function of hemoglobin is to carry oxygen in the blood from the lungs to other tissues, which all need oxygen to work. Hemoglobin is able to transfer this oxygen because the iron in it is in the form of the Fe2+ ion, which easily bonds with oxygen.
  • Clothing iron game piece from Monopoly - When clothing irons were first used, they were named this way because the were made of cast iron. The iron would be heated over a fire or on a stove so it could be used to smooth out wrinkles in fabric. Irons are now often made of steel, which is 90% iron.
  • Fool's gold - This is also known as pyrite or iron pyrite and it is made of iron sulfide (FeS2). It is called fool's gold becuase its metallic gold color often caused it to be mistaken for gold. Fool's gold can be used to create the sparks needed to start a fire if it is struck on a metal or hard material.
  • Golf iron - Golf clubs are not actually made of iron, but they are usually called irons because they are made of metal. Specifically, they are made of steel, which is an alloy containing 90% iron.
  • Iron Man action figure - Iron Man is a Marvel Comics superhero and has become even more well-known through the Iron Man and Avengers movies. Although many think his suit is made of iron because of his name, it is not. In the video below, the American Chemical Society looks at the science behind the Avengers.

  • Nails - Nails can be made of iron alone but because iron rusts very easily, they are now often made of stainless steel. Stainless steel is composed of steel along with another element, which could be nickel, chromium, aluminum, silicon, or molybdenum. Steel is mostly iron with carbon filling in the gaps between the iron atoms.
  • Silverware - Silverware used to be made of cast iron but because this corrodes so easily, an alternative was needed. Most silverware is now made of stainless steel which is an alloy explained above in the description of nails. About 90% of stainless steel is iron and it is much more resistant to corrosion than iron itself.
  • Wooly Willy toy - In this toy, a "magic wand" can be used to give Willy hair, eyebrows and facial hair. The "hair" is iron metal and the "magic wand" is a magnet, which attracts the iron to move it around Willy's face.
  • Wrought iron door handle - Door knobs, handles, and knockers used to be (and sometimes still are) made of wrought iron, which is an alloy of iron.

The below video was filmed by Ms. Schaffner's AP Chemistry class as part of their contribution:

Fun Facts

  • There are many foods that contain iron, including chicken, seafood, and sweet potatoes.
  • There is a 7.25 meter iron pillar in Delhi that is from 400 A.D. and it is still standing, even though it should have been destroyed by weathering long ago. Read more about it here:  https://www.historicmysteries.com/mysterious-iron-pillar-of-delhi/
  • Iron makes up 5.6% of the Earth's crust and almost all of its core.
  • Iron is formed by fusion in stars that have sufficient mass.
  • Iron is used in fireworks to make sparks; the color of the sparks depends on the temperature of the iron.
  • Iron is toxic in high doses.
  • Iron is one of the seven elements mentioned in the Bible.
  • Iron is the 6th most abundant element in the universe, the 4th most abundant element in the Earth's crust, and the most abundant element in the total composition of the Earth. 

feAbout the Contributor: Ms. Schaffner’s AP Chemistry class, from Edgerton High School in Edgerton, Ohio, has 9 seniors and 1 junior in it. Pictured in the back row, left to right, are Devin Herman and Hunter Ward. Pictured in the middle row, left to right, are Carter Knecht, Cade McClellan, Keegan Steele, and Derek Blue. Pictured in the front row, left to right, are Delaney Elliott, Autumn Gruver, Leiah Fritch, and Erin Luke.

Back to the Periodic Table

Symbol: Fe

Atomic Number: 26

Atomic Mass: 55.845 u

Electron Configuration: [Ar]4s23d6

Year Discovered: Unknown (Ancient Times)

Discovered By: Unknown

Last Updated: 6/16/17