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 is a shiny, bright white metal that is soft, malleable, ductile and strong. Its surface is usually discolored by corrosion, since it combines readily with the oxygen of the air in the presence of moisture. In absolutely dry air, it does not rust. The oxide that is produced is crumbly and soft, giving no protection to the base metal, which eventually rusts away.
It is found in nature as the metal only in meteorites and in very rare circumstances where iron minerals have been reduced by environmental factors.