Steel vs Iron
We can use some elements for our usages by taking them in the pure states. Sometimes we cannot take them in pure states; rather we can mix them with other substances and use them. As for the case of iron, we can use pure iron for certain purposes. However, pure iron tends to react quickly with water and oxygen in the air which cause them to rust. In order to minimize that and to increase its qualities, iron is mixed with other elements to make alloys like steel.
Steel is an alloy made out of iron and carbon. The carbon percentage can vary depending on the grade and mostly it is between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight. Though carbon is the main alloying material for iron some other elements like Tungsten, chromium, manganese can also be used for the purpose. Different types and amounts of alloying element used determine the hardness, ductility and tensile strength of steel. Alloying element is responsible for maintaining the crystal lattice structure of steel by preventing dislocation of iron atoms. Thus, it acts as the hardening agent in steel. The density of steel varies between 7,750 and 8,050 kg/m3 and, this is affected by the alloying constituents too. Heat treatment is a process which changes the mechanical properties of steels. This will affect the ductility, hardness and electrical and thermal properties of steel. There are different types of steel as carbon steel, mild steel, stainless steel, etc. Steel is mainly used for construction purposes. Buildings, stadiums, railway tracks, bridges are few places among many where steel is heavily used. Other than that, they are used in vehicles, ships, planes, machines, etc. Most of the daily used house appliances are also made by steel. Now most furniture is also replaced by steel products.
Iron is a metal in the d block with the symbol Fe. It is one of the most common elements forming the earth and has large amounts in the inner and outer core of the earth. It is the fourth most common element in the earth’s crust. The atomic number of iron is 26. It has the electron configuration of [Ar] 3d6 4s2. Iron has oxidation states ranging from −2 to +8. Among these +2 and the +3 forms are the most common. +2 oxidation form of iron is known as ferrous and +3 form is known as ferric. These ions are in the form of ionic crystals, which are formed with various anions. Iron is needed to biological systems for various purposes. For example in humans, ferrous is found as a chelating agent in hemoglobin. It is also important for the chlorophyll synthesis in plants. Hence, where is a deficiency of this ion, biological systems show various diseases. Not only for health, iron is used for many other purposes too. From early history iron was in use in order to make tools and machinery. Iron is also mixed with other elements to produce alloys, which are also useful.
What is the difference between Steel and Iron?
• Steel is an alloy and iron is an element.
• Iron is mixed with carbon when producing steel.
• Steel contains a high amount of iron than other elements.