What do you have in common with the Sun, ships, plants, animals, and buildings? You all need iron!
Why is iron so important to our lives on planet Earth? Read on to find out.
What is iron?
Iron is a metal and the sixth most common chemical element in the universe. Iron makes up most of Earth’s inner and outer core, and it is also a major part of Earth’s crust. Iron is even found in the Sun, stars, and some planets too!
Characteristics of iron
In its pure form, iron is soft and has a grayish color. After combining with other metals like carbon, iron becomes very hard and strong.
Iron rusts very easily, and it is the most magnetic of all the metals.
Uses of iron
Iron is combined with carbon to make a metal called steel, which humans have now been producing for over 5000 years. Steel is used to make cars, ships, buildings, tools, pots and pans, and even more.
Iron is also an important nutrient that humans, plants, and animals need to survive. For humans and other animals, iron is part of hemoglobin, a protein in our blood that helps carry oxygen from the lungs to other areas of the body. If you don’t have enough iron in your body, you start to feel tired and weak. For plants, iron is used to make chlorophyll, which helps plants absorb the light they need for energy and is used in photosynthesis.
History of iron
Human use of iron dates all the way back to ancient times, and the very first iron used by humans came from meteorites. Yes, iron literally fell from the sky! Scientists have found Egyptian beads that came from iron meteorites.
At first, iron wasn’t as popular as other metals. Iron was too expensive to use regularly and was eight times more expensive than gold! Some people believed that iron was a gift from the gods because it had come from the sky. Eventually, iron became cheap enough to replace other metals like gold and bronze, and it then became very popular. Iron was used mostly to make weapons and tools. This time period is known as the Iron Age, although it happened during different periods of time in different parts of the world.
Facts about iron
-The word iron comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “iron,” which means metal.
-Of all the metals, iron is the most abundant (the most commonly found).
-Have you ever wondered why blood is red? The red color actually comes from iron and the way it interacts with oxygen.
-The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France is made from iron.
-If you want to make sure your body has enough iron, eat foods like red meat, fish, and beans.
-Steel can be up to 1000 times stronger than pure iron!
-Even though iron is good for your body, too much iron can be poisonous.
-Iron is even mentioned as being used to make tools in the book of Genesis in the Bible.
-Iron is used more than any other metal in the world, making up about 95% of the world’s metal production.
-China produces more iron than any other country.
-There is so much iron on Earth that there is enough to make three new planets!
Now you know why iron is so important. Iron is everywhere: in the Earth itself, in plants, in buildings and cars, and even in your own body! Next time you ride in a car, cook with a pot, walk into a building, or even pick a flower, you have iron to thank.