Different types of iron and its material properties

This article gives an overview of different types of Iron which includes wrought iron, white cast iron, grey cast iron, malleable cast iron and nodular cast iron. Each iron is classified based on its physical and chemical properties with respect to carbon percentage and its application.

In everyday life, we often come across many types of structures made up of iron and its alloy. Iron is one of the most used metals in the world and one needs to use it in everyday life in terms of many structures, appliances, and other ways. This article shows you how many types of Iron that engineers are using in applications based on their properties and suitability.

Different types of iron and its material properties

Pig Iron and its properties:

  • Pig Iron is a basic raw material for all irons and produced from a blast furnace.
  • It contains Carbon percentage equal to 3-4%
  • Pig Iron from ore contains three basic forms of Iron:
    1. Cast iron (Made from Cupola furnace)
    2. Wrought Iron (Made from Pudding furnace)
    3. Steel (Made from Bessemer converter)

Wrought Iron and its properties:

  • Wrought Iron is a mechanical mixture of pure iron and silicate slag
  • Its Carbon percentage is 0.02% to 0.03%
  • Wrought Iron is never cast or difficult to cast
  • Wrought Iron is having high ductile, corrosion-resistant, fatigue resistant
  • It is having Tensile strength: 3380-3500 kg per square centimetre and 2530-2670 kg per square centimetre in a transverse direction
  • Wrought Iron's melting point: 1510 degree C, Weight – 7680 kg per meter cube.
  • Wrought Iron's Poisson's ratio: 0.3

Malleable Cast Iron and its properties:

  • Malleable Cast Iron is obtained from hard & brittle white iron., through a controlled heat treatment conversion process.
  • Malleable Cast Iron is having Carbon percentage: 2 % to 3 %
  • Malleable Cast Iron having material properties like High yield strength, ease of machinability, corrosion resistance and high young modulus
  • It is having low coefficient of thermal expansion and high wear resistance & damping vibration.
  • Shrinkage Allowance for this Iron is 1.5 mm / 100mm
  • Malleable Cast Iron is used to make Crank-shaft, railroad, universal joint etc.

Nodular cast iron (most ductile cast iron) and its properties:

  • Nodular cast Iron contains Carbon % : 3.2 % & 4.2 %
  • Nodular cast Iron is having damping capacity intermediate between cast iron & steel.
  • This iron is also having high wear resistance
  • Application: Pump compressor, valve, i.c engines, pipe, paper industry, earthmoving machinery.

Grey cast iron and its properties:

Grey cast iron can also be produced from pig iron. Grey cast iron is named from the colour of its microstructure. Because of graphite/silicon, it is grey in colour. Graphite also contains self-damping capacity and is oft in strength.
  • Grey Cast Iron is an alloy of Carbon & silicon with iron.
  • Carbon percentage of Grey Cast Iron : 2.5 to 3.8 %
  • Grey cast iron is having Self-damping, good anti-friction properties and also having the lowest melting point. This is the reason why grey cast iron is mostly used in machining beds (lathe machine, milling machine) to reduce and absorb the vibration due to self-damping properties.
  • Applications of Grey Cast Iron: Machine tool structure, manhole covers, piston rings, rolling mill. Water pipes.

White cast iron and its properties:

  • Carbon Percentage of White Cast Iron : 1.8 % to 3.6 %
  • White Cast Iron is not machinable
  • Shrinkage allowance for this type of Cast Iron is 1 mm/ 100 mm


Guest Author: Ashwani Ranjan28 Sep 2014

It was quite helpful to understand basic iron types.

Guest Author: Bhavin parmar11 Mar 2015

Yeah this website is so helpful for me
Because I am weak in metal information.
So it gives me some meaningful information for my studies.
I like it
Please can you send me mail of many different. Types of metal and material properties

Guest Author: Ankita das01 Apr 2015

Can u please explain the difference between types of iron and alloys of iron?
I'd there any difference?

Guest Author: karthik21 Jun 2015

I want more information about iron and their properties

Guest Author: krishna04 Jul 2015

Very nice and easy to understand

Guest Author: TANKI JOHN MONERI14 Dec 2017

I need information on their pros and cons based on how they are used.

Guest Author: Shankar Dey15 Apr 2019

This article was quite helpful to understand basic types of iron.

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