The key difference between iron and ferrous sulfate is that iron is a chemical element whereas ferrous sulfate is a chemical compound containing iron.
Iron is a chemical element that falls under the category of metals. It is one of the major elements that make up the earth. We also need iron as a nutrient in our body. Low levels of iron can lead to iron deficiency. Moreover, this chemical element has +2 and +3 as the most stable and common oxidation states. Therefore, it can form various chemical compounds in these forms. Ferrous sulfate is one such compound.
What is Iron?
Iron is a chemical element having the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal. It is very common on earth, both in the outer and inner core. Moreover, it has a lustrous metallic appearance and occurs at solid-state under standard temperature and pressure. Also, it has high melting and boiling points; 1538 °C and 2862 °C, respectively. Further, the most stable and common oxidation states of iron are +2 and +3. The +2 state is ferrous while +3 is ferric. It is a ferromagnetic metal, and its thermal and electrical conductivity are also high.
There are many uses of iron – mainly as a basic metal for alloy production, as a structural material for constructions, as a supplement for iron deficiency anaemia, etc.
What is Ferrous Sulfate?
Ferrous sulfate is a type of iron supplement which denotes a range of salts with the chemical formula FeSO4.xH2O. It is useful to prevent low levels of iron in the blood. Most commonly, it occurs in the heptahydrate form. It has a blue-green appearance. In addition to medicinal applications, it has industrial uses as well.
When considering the production of this compound, it forms as a byproduct during the finishing of steel, prior to plating or coating. Here, the steel sheet is passed through pickling baths of sulfuric where the ferrous sulfate formation occurs. Moreover, this compound can form in large amounts during the production of titanium dioxide from ilmenite using the sulfate process.
As a medication, physicians often recommend ferrous sulfate for iron deficiency, though it is not the best option. It is less absorbed and is toxic. Furthermore, it can cause a number of side effects such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, constipation, etc.
What is the Difference Between Iron and Ferrous Sulfate?
Ferrous sulfate is an ionic compound containing iron, sulfur and oxygen atoms. So, the key difference between iron and ferrous sulfate is that iron is a chemical element whereas ferrous sulfate is a chemical compound containing iron. When symbolizing each term, iron has the symbol Fe while the symbol for ferrous sulfate is FeSO4.
Furthermore, iron is useful as a structural material for construction purposes, as a supplement for iron deficiency, as a component in alloys, etc. while ferrous sulfate is useful as a supplement for iron deficiency, as a colourant in the manufacture of inks, as a soil amendment, etc.
The below infographic summarizes the difference between iron and ferrous sulfate.
Summary – Iron vs Ferrous Sulfate
Ferrous sulfate is basically an ionic compound containing iron, sulfur and oxygen atoms. Therefore, the key difference between iron and ferrous sulfate is that iron is a chemical element whereas ferrous sulfate is a chemical compound containing iron.
1. “Ferrous Sulfate Oral : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing.” WebMD, WebMD, Available here.