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What Are the Properties of Iron?

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  • Written By: Karize Uy
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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Some of the properties of iron include having a strong resistance to high temperatures, being a malleable and ductile material, and being an excellent conductor for electricity and heat. When it comes to physical structure, some properties of iron include being a metal and a solid. In terms of appearance, the iron has properties such as a grayish color, luster or shine, and general hardness. A very unique property of iron is its ability to generate a strong magnetic field around it, which explains why Earth has a magnetic field, as the planet’s core is very abundant in molten iron.

In its normal phase, iron is classified as a solid, and its density is around 7.87g/cm-3, making it eight times denser than water. Being a solid metal, iron requires an unusually high temperature for it to melt, boil, and evaporate. In the physical category, the properties of iron include having a melting point of 2800.4°F (about 1538°C) and a boiling point of 5183.6°F (about 2862°C). It also takes a significant amount of energy, 340 kJ/mol -1 to be exact, to transform iron into its gaseous phase and evaporate. These really high temperatures suggest that iron is a strong and effective material for building machines and infrastructures — in fact, the most widely and commonly used among all metals.

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Iron, as a solid element, may have particles that are compactly pressed against each other, but these particles have the ability to either slide over and under other particles or spread out in very high temperatures. In this way, high malleability and ductility are both properties of iron. High malleability means that iron can be hammered into flat pieces or bent into different shapes without experiencing any breakage. High ductility, on the other hand, means that iron can be stretched into thin wires without snapping.

The properties of iron, as with most metals, also include high conductivity of temperature and electricity. This simply means that iron has the ability to transfer heat and electric currents from one object to another. The reason behind this is that iron, as mentioned before, contain atoms that are very compact and have very little, but regular, spaces in between them. When heat or electricity touches one end of the iron, the atom that catches the energy somehow “vibrates” and passes the energy to the atom beside it until it reaches the object on the other end.

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