Wrought iron is an alloy with an extremely low carbon content in contrast to other alloys such as cast and steel. Just like the metal used for the best balustrade in Perth, it is known for being tough and malleable which makes it perfect for forging. Although many people have probably come into contact with wrought iron, or have used a product made from the material, not many actually know much about it.
Keep reading to find out some interesting facts about wrought iron!
Fact 1: Whilst everyone learns basic chemistry, and the periodic table at school, how many of us really remember it? Probably only a few. So, lets start with the basics. Wrought iron is a chemical element and a metal. The element can be found on the periodic table with the chemical symbol of Fe. The material also has the atomic number of 26.
You may have noticed the occurrence of rust on some metal products, but have you ever wondered what causes this? When Fe reacts with oxygen in the presence of water, rust forms.
Fact 2: It can be easy to forget that the Earth is composed of a range of different elements. Whilst we use the metal to forge useful items, Fe is also the fourth most common element in the Earth’s crust. This roughly translates to it being around 5% of the total. Furthermore, it is suspected that the Earth’s core is made up of an Fe and nickel alloy.
Interestingly, Earth is not the only planet that is comprised of the element; gas giant planets such as Saturn and Jupiter have cores rich in the substance. The prominence of the element has resulted in it being the 6th most common element found in the entire Universe.
Fact 3: Wrought iron is one of the most common alloys of the metal, but the element can also be used to make other metals. One of which is steel. Steel is made from Fe and a small amount of carbon. Although the amount of carbon used is small, it drastically increases the strength of the metal. Interestingly, steel can be up to 1000 times stronger than the element in its original form.
Another alloy of the element is cast, this often contains carbon, silicon and manganese. This metal was most commonly used to build large structures such as bridges. However, as steel is much stronger and more durable, many of cast’s uses have been replaced by steel.
Fact 4: There are some periods in history that everyone knows about, one of which is the Iron Age; this point in time was prehistoric but the exact dates vary depending on location. Historians estimate that this era was around the 12th Century BC in Ancient Greece and the 6th Century BC in Northern Europe.
The name of the period indicates why the time is so crucial in human history. Essentially, it is noted as being the first time when steel and other metals were used to make tools and weapons. This early advancement in human history had a huge impact on how mankind moved forward. However, it was not as easy in this time period to get access to the element. The early wrought iron used in human history actually came from meteors.
Fact 5: The metal is produced worldwide and is relatively cheap and simple to make in comparison to other materials. China is thought to be the largest producer of the metal, making up around 33% of the worlds total production.
The metal can be used to make a variety of things, such as machines, vehicles and building structures. Whilst the metal is known to rust, there are ways of preventing this in order to extend its lifespan. It is possible to paint, coat or galvanise the metal in order to protect it from moisture.