Iron vs Steel: Difference and Comparison

The manufacturing industry has been one of the most popular industries existing today. This industry has been existing for centuries now.

In this industry, lots of materials are used on an everyday basis.

Among the various materials used, two of the most common materials are Iron and Steel. Both these products are used to manufacture a large variety of products.

These components look so similar that they are confused with each other. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Iron is a naturally occurring chemical element with the symbol Fe on the periodic table. At the same time, steel is an alloy made from iron and other elements, such as carbon and manganese.
  2. Iron is relatively soft and malleable, while steel is stronger and more durable due to its alloy composition.
  3. Iron is used primarily for its magnetic properties and as a building material, while steel is used in a wide range of applications, from construction to manufacturing to transportation.

Iron vs. Steel

Iron is a base element. It is not easy to cast iron. It has a low melting point. This metal can be used commonly for daily routine activities. Iron can attract ferromagnetic metals. It is also used in construction. Steel is a combination of both iron and carbon. It is easy to cast steel. It has a high melting point. Steel is an alloy, but it contains characteristics of metal.

Iron vs Steel

Both Iron and Steel have been used for a long time now. Many great structures of the 19th century, like the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty, have all been built using Iron. Iron has been known to exist for 6000 years now.

It is one of the most common elements found in the earth’s crust. 

Though both Iron and Steel have various similar characteristics, they are very different from each other. They are unique in their ways.

Both Iron and Steel have their distinct characteristics and qualities. 

Comparison Table

Parameter Of ComparisonIronSteel
DefinitionIron is a commonly used element.Steel is a commonly used alloy that comprises both iron and carbon.
OriginThe origin of Iron has been since the beginning of civilization.The origin of Steel was made in the 14th century.
DerivationIron is derived from minerals like magnetite and hematite. Steel is derived from Iron. 
CarbonIron contains more than 2% of carbon. Steel contains less than 2% of carbon. 
CastingIron is easier to cast. Steel is difficult to cast as compared to Iron. 
Melting PointThe melting point of iron is low.The melting point of Steel is high compared to Iron. 

What is Iron?

Iron is a very commonly used metal in the day-to-day activities of the construction industry. The atomic number of iron is 26. Iron is a shiny and malleable element.

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The color of it is chrome colored, and it looks like a significant amount of light. 

One of the most useful characteristics of iron is that it is a ferromagnetic metal. This makes it possible for it to attract various other ferromagnetic metals.

Iron is an element that is used mostly in combination with other elements. 

The origin of Iron has not been known exactly. However, it is believed that some of the archaeological findings of 3000 BC have made use of Iron.

But most of these irons fall under the category of wrought iron. The proper iron came into existence during the 14th century. 

Iron is commonly used in the construction industry. All great old architectural structures like the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty have been made using Iron.

In today’s date, Iron is commonly used as a base element in most of the construction processes. 

Another common use of Iron is that it is an essential mineral for the body. It is a key ingredient for providing the body with the essential nutrients.

It helps the body by acting as a catalyst to produce hemoglobin. 


What is Steel?

Steel is one of the most commonly known alloys. It comprises mainly carbon and iron.

It is a ferrous alloy. Steel is not necessarily metal, though it has similar characteristics and properties to metal.

It is an alloy- a mixture of various elements and components. 

Steel is not found on Earth anywhere, whether in its inner or outer core. Most other elements are found freely and in large quantities on the earth.

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However, this is not the case with steel. Steel is made by mixing carbon and iron. Thus, it is a man-made element. 

Steel is derived from Iron. The addition of carbon to iron is what makes steel unique and different from iron. The carbon content of steel is very high.

It contains more than 2% of carbon. Though it seems like a small quantity, this carbon causes various changes in the properties of steel.

Steel is very commonly used as it is harder as well as more powerful than iron. However, it is not an essential mineral for the body. The body does not need to consume any steel to stay healthy. 


Main Differences Between Iron and Steel

  1. Iron is a ductile metal, whereas on the other hand Steel is an alloy made up of iron and carbon.
  2. Iron has been used by mankind since the beginning of civilization, whereas, on the other hand, Steel was known to mankind much later.
  3. Iron has a low melting point; on the other, Steel has a high melting point.
  4. Iron contains less than 2% of carbon, whereas, on the other hand, Steel contains more than 2% of carbon.
  5. Iron is less expensive to cast whereas on the other hand, Steel is more expensive to cast. 
  6. Iron is derived from various minerals like magnetite and hematite, whereas, on the other hand, Steel is derived from Iron.
  7. Iron is less stable than Steel, whereas Steel is more stable than Iron.
Difference Between Iron and Steel

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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23 thoughts on “Iron vs Steel: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article provides a well-structured comparison between iron and steel, a good starting point for anyone unfamiliar with these metals

  2. Very informative article! The information given about the difference between iron and steel is very clear and easy to understand


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