The normal phase of iron is as a lustrous, gray, solid metal. Its melting point is 2800 degrees Fahrenheit, and its density is 7874 kg m-3. Like many metals, it is able to be hammered into thin sheets and pulled into wire.
Iron can also be alloyed with other metals to produce steel. It is a fairly good conductor of electricity and heat, though silver, copper and aluminum are better conductors of electricity. Iron's one drawback is that it is subject to rust, as it's a reactive element and combines readily with oxygen.
It's the fourth most abundant element in the Earth's crust. Scientists believe that Earth's inner core is made of iron. Iron is even found in meteorites. These iron meteorites are called siderites. Iron is created during the fusion process in massive stars and after the explosions of supernovae.
Iron is also crucial to life as it is part of hemoglobin, a pigment found in blood which carries oxygen to the cells.
No one knows who discovered iron, and it has been used to make tools and weaponry and as a construction material since antiquity. Iron's atomic number is 26 and its symbol is Fe, which is from the Latin word for iron, "ferrum."