Iron, with the chemical symbol Fe, is a metallic element of crucial importance to human civilization. Its discovery dates back to prehistoric times, as it was already used for tools during the Bronze Age. However, systematic use of iron began in antiquity.
Iron is the fourth most abundant element in the Earth's crust, constituting approximately 5% of its weight. It occurs primarily in the form of ores such as hematite, magnetite, and siderite. Iron smelting, a significant technological advancement, commenced over 3,000 years ago.
The broad spectrum of iron applications ranges from construction materials like steel to vehicles, tools, and electronic devices. Steel production is a major consumer of iron, playing a crucial role in the construction industry.
Future applications could emerge in sustainable technology. Research on iron-based batteries for energy storage and new methods of iron production with lower CO2 emissions indicates potential developments.