1280px-Iron electrolytic and 1cm3 cube

Several samples of pure Iron

Iron (symbol Fe from the Latin Ferrum) is an element and a transition metal. It is the second most common metal on Earth, due to it making up much of the Earth's core, and the most widely-used metal. It is also one of the heaviest elements that makes up large stars.


Iron is a silver transition metal. It is magnetic, since all magnets contain iron. Iron is easily found, mined and smelted, which is why it is so useful. Pure iron is soft and very malleable and is able to highly stretch, while steel (iron mixed with carbon) is stronger and does not stretch as much as iron. Iron reacts to oxygen to form rust (Iron oxide).

Iron is reactive and reacts with most acids like sulfuric acid. It makes ferrous sulfate when reacted with sulfuric acid. These reactions are used to clean metals.

Iron has 26 protons and electrons in its atoms, which is why it has the atomic number 26. It has a mass number of 56, meaning Iron has 30 neutrons.