Difference Between Iron and Cast Iron (With Table)

Note: To see the current Epic Deals on Amazon, Click Here

There are many metals present in nature, and by mining them, they can be put to several uses. Few metals that can be found easily are Iron, copper, aluminum, etc., all of which are very important in industrial and commercial industries. Now among them, Iron is the most known and most used metal. It can be easily found and is put to several uses. It won’t be wrong to say there is not a single building in the world that does not have any iron appliance or thing in it.

Despite its advantageous properties, there are some problems as well with this metal that can be overcome by making its alloys, such as Cast Iron, stainless steel, etc., all of them have properties of more than one metal. Although many people are aware of stainless steel, only a few know the difference between Iron and cast iron.

Iron vs Cast Iron

The difference between Iron and Cast Iron is that only one of them is found in pure form in nature, i.e., Iron and the other element. Cast Iron is man-made by adding Iron with another element to enhance its properties and lower down the disadvantages. Among disadvantages, the main disadvantage of Iron is that it gets oxidized easily in the presence of moisture, while when carbon is added to it, it becomes Cast Iron, and the disadvantage of oxidization to form rust in the presence of moisture is terminated. Therefore, Iron only has properties of one metal, while Cast Iron has properties of more than one metal. Except these, there are more differences between Iron and cast Iron are mentioned below.

Iron is a metallic element found in nature in its pure form. It is also a chemical element with the symbol Fe, belongs to group 8 and period 4, and has atomic number 26. In its pure form, it is silver in color and has a slightly shiny appearance which gets disappeared quickly as it comes into contact with air and moisture, then a reddish-brown colored rust forms on its surface as a result of oxidization. It is being used in many activities and industries.

Cast Iron is an alloy made with Iron and carbon. It is made to enhance the existing properties of Iron. Carbon percentage is more than 2 percent in this alloy which lowers down the oxidization speed in the presence of air and moisture. Unlike Iron, it is not a chemical element. It is also known as grey iron. This metal has different properties, which depend on the fact if more elements are added to it.

Comparison Table Between Iron and Cast Iron

Parameters of ComparisonIronCast Iron
NaturePureAlloy
OxidizationTake placeDoes not take place
Consistency of crystalsSoftBrittle
PropertiesConsistentVaries
Melting PointHigherLower

What is Iron?

Following are some of the chemical properties of Iron:

Atomic Number: 26

Electron Configuration: [Ar] 3d64s2

Melting Point: 1536 degrees Celsius

Boiling Point: 2861 degrees Celsius

Discovered By: The Ancients.

Physical Properties: 

  • It gets oxidized and rusty in the presence of both air and moisture, while in dry air, no rust formation takes place.
  • It is magnetic in nature.
  • It is easily malleable due to its soft consistency.
  • It has a higher melting point.

Uses of Iron:

  • It is used in manufacturing steel which is further used in several activities and industries. 
  • It is also used to make different alloys to enhance the existing properties and usage of metals/elements. 
  • Due to its strong and great holding capacity, it is used for manufacturing bridges, chains, cutting tools, and many other heavy tools. 
  • Its alloys and compounds are used for the manufacturing of magnets.

It can also be found in the body of a human being and is the 6th most common element. It has 4 known allotropic forms.

What is Cast Iron?

There are several types of Cast Irons:

  1. White Cast Iron: it is not easy to machine, resistant to wear, has high Compressive strength, good hardness.
  2. Gray Cast Iron: Good machinability, resistance to wear and galling, higher compressive strength, brittle consistency.
  3. Ductile Cast Iron: Higher ductile and strength.
  4. Malleable Cast Iron: high ductile, tougher than Gray Cast Iron, great machining capacity.
  5. Nodular or Spheroidal Cast Iron: higher tensile strength, great elongation properties.

Advantages of Cast Iron:

  • Better casting properties.
  • Easily available in large quantities.
  • Can be given different shapes.
  • Better comprehension strength.
  • Good machinability.
  • Low cost.
  • Resistance to deformation

Disadvantages of Cast Iron:

  • Prone to rusting.
  • Bad tensile strength.
  • Slow cooling of thick sections.
  • Poor machinability as compared to steel.
  • Brittleness consistency.

Applications of Cast Iron:

  • Making pipes that have to carry fluids or liquids.
  • Manufacturing of machines.
  • Development of automotive parts.
  • Making utensils and other households items.
  • Making anchor of ships.

Main Differences Between Iron and Cast Iron

  1. The main difference between Iron and Iron Cast is in their nature. Iron is a pure metallic element that can be found in nature, whereas Cast Iron is an alloy that has properties of more than one element and is not found in its natural state in nature.
  2. In terms of oxidization, Iron has the disadvantage that it gets oxidized easily as compared to the Cast Iron metal that does not get oxidized easily. This is dues to its enhanced properties by adding Iron with other metals.
  3. Both of them can also differ in terms of the consistency of crystals. Iron is relatively softer, whereas the consistency of crystals of Cast Iron is relatively more brittle as compared to Iron. Except for this, they also have different malleability. While the Iron is malleable due to soft consistency, most of the cast iron is not malleable (exceptions are there) due to its brittle nature.
  4. Both of the elements have some common and some different properties. But in general, Iron has consistent properties. For example, every piece of an iron possesses the same properties, whereas the properties of Cast Iron vary depending on their alloy element and its ratio.
  5. When compared in terms of the melting point of these elements, Iron has a higher melting point, i.e., 1536°C, whereas the melting point of Cast Iron is relatively low than Iron and depends upon its alloy.

Conclusion

With all the above information and differences between Iron and cast Iron, there won’t be any difficulty while identifying them. They are similar to Iron is the main metallic element. There is no argument which of them is better in terms of usage.

In general, also alloys are made to enhance the naturally occurring metal to make their existing properties stronger and add additional advantages to them of other elements as well. There are other alloys of Iron as well (stainless steel). They are made by considering their usage and properties that need to be enhanced more. Lastly, all of these alloys have all the beneficial properties of iron metal.

References

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41255648
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0043135414005387
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921509305010233
x
2D vs 3D