Iron has many uses including the construction of machine parts, building structures, hulls of ships, vehicles and for manufacturing machine tools. Moreover, it is used in appliances and surgical equipment in the form of stainless steel.
Iron is mostly used to create steel, which is used in civil engineering and manufacturing industries. Ordinary carbon steel consists of iron, carbon and small amounts of other elements.
Stainless steel is used in various products and industries today, especially in automobiles and aircraft. This type of iron is completely recyclable, and it is created when iron is mixed with other metals. At home, iron is used almost everywhere, from iron fences and decorative iron furniture to pots, trays, ovens, kitchen cutlery and other cookware. Cast iron and wrought iron are found in many products in households.
Iron and steel are typically painted, galvanized or coated with plastic to prevent rusting. These methods keep out water and oxygen which contribute to rusting. Small amounts of carbon are combined with iron to create steel. Chromium and nickel are also often added to produce non-corroding stainless steel.
Iron is prized because it is abundant, inexpensive and easily made into many alloys that are stronger, harder and more durable than the original metal. Iron itself is easy to weld. It can be drawn into wires, hammered into thin sheets, cast, forged and machined. These alloys are extremely strong and durable, which means they can be used for high-stress applications such as bridge cables and gun barrels.
Aside from industry uses, iron is an important element for all life forms. According to Royal Society of Chemistry, humans contain approximately 4 grams of iron, most of which circulates as hemoglobin in the blood and carries oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. Humans need a diet that contains 10 to 18 milligrams of iron.