Aluminum, Chrome, Copper, Iron, Metal, Stainless Steel, Steal, Tin

Iron, The Most Important of All Common Metals

Iron, in its pure state, is a soft, white, easily worked
metal. It is the most important of all the metallic elements, and is, next
to aluminum, the commonest metal found in the earth.

Mechanically speaking, we have three kinds: wrought iron, cast iron
and steel. Wrought iron is very nearly pure; cast iron contains carbon
and silicon, also chemical impurities; and steel contains a definite
proportion of carbon, but in smaller quantities than cast iron.

Pure iron is never obtained commercially, the metal always being mixed with
various proportions of carbon, silicon, sulphur, phosphorus, and other
elements, making it more or less suitable for different purposes. It is
magnetic to the extent that it is attracted by magnets, but it does not
retain magnetism itself, as does steel. It forms, with other elements,
many important combinations, such as its alloys, oxides, and sulphates.

Cast Iron

--Metallic iron is separated from ore in the blast
furnace, and when allowed to run into moulds is called cast
iron. This form is used for engine cylinders and pistons, for brackets,
covers, housings and at any point where its brittleness is not
objectionable. Good cast iron breaks with a gray fracture, is free from
blowholes or roughness, and is easily machined, drilled, etc. Cast iron is
slightly lighter than steel, melts at about 2,400 degrees in practice, is
about one-eighth as good an electrical conductor as copper and has a
tensile strength of 13,000 to 30,000 pounds per square inch. Its
compressive strength, or resistance to crushing, is very great. It has
excellent wearing qualities and is not easily warped and deformed by heat.
Chilled it is cast into a metal mould so that the outside is cooled
quickly, making the surface very hard and difficult to cut and giving great
resistance to wear. It is used for making cheap gear wheels and parts that
must withstand surface friction.

Malleable Cast Iron

--This is often called simply malleable iron. It is a form of
cast iron obtained by removing much of the carbon from cast
iron, making it softer and less brittle. It has a tensile strength of
25,000 to 45,000 pounds per square inch, is easily machined, will stand a
small amount of bending at a low red heat and is used chiefly in making
brackets, fittings and supports where low cost is of considerable
importance. It is often used in cheap constructions in place of steel
forgings. The greatest strength of a malleable casting, like a steel
forging, is in the surface, therefore but little machining should be done.

Wrought Iron

--This grade is made by treating the cast iron to
remove almost all of the carbon, silicon, phosphorus, sulphur, manganese
and other impurities. This process leaves a small amount of the slag from
the ore mixed with the wrought iron.

Wrought iron is used for making bars to be machined into various parts. If
drawn through the rolls at the mill once, while being made, it is called
"muck bar;" if rolled twice, it is called "merchant bar" (the commonest
kind), and a still better grade is made by rolling a third time. Wrought
iron is being gradually replaced in use by mild rolled steels.

Wrought iron is slightly heavier than cast iron, is a much better
electrical conductor than either cast iron or steel, has a tensile strength
of 40,000 to 60,000 pounds per square inch and costs slightly more than
steel. Unlike either steel or cast iron, wrought iron does not harden when
cooled suddenly from a red heat.

Grades of Irons

--The mechanical properties of cast iron differ
greatly according to the amount of other materials it contains. The most
important of these contained elements is carbon, which is present to a
degree varying from 2 to 5-1/2 per cent. When iron containing much carbon
is quickly cooled and then broken, the fracture is nearly white in color
and the metal is found to be hard and brittle. When the iron is slowly
cooled and then broken the fracture is gray and the iron is more malleable
and less brittle. If cast iron contains sulphur or phosphorus, it will show
a white fracture regardless of the rapidity of cooling, being brittle and
less desirable for general work.

Read more about Iron here: Iron