What are the different types of iron oxides?
Iron oxide is a very important chemical compound. It is primarily made up of iron and oxygen. Iron oxide is found naturally as well as produced industrially. There are many uses of iron oxide and iron oxide suppliers make it available to sectors such as the manufacturing industry, the cosmetic industry, pharmaceuticals industry, and steel and iron industry.
Broadly there are 3 different types of iron oxide that occur naturally. The difference in the type of iron oxide is mostly dependent on the concentration of iron and oxygen in the given compound.
Iron II oxide: Also known as ferrous oxide, this compound forms nearly 9% of the earth’s mantle. It is primarily black in colour and looks similar to rust. Iron II oxide can be artificially prepared by the thermal decomposition of iron (II) oxalate. Iron II oxide is mostly used as a pigment for tattoo making and also in the manufacturing of cosmetics because of its non-toxic nature.
Iron III oxide: This oxide occurs naturally as the mineral hematite and has uses in several sectors. It is greatly used to produce iron for the steel industry. Other industries that use iron III oxide are the pigment industry, the jewelry industry and the cosmetics industry. It is also used for magnetic recording and can be found in magnetic disk and magnetic tapes used for audio and video recording.
Iron II, III oxide: This form occurs naturally as the mineral magnetite. It contains properties of both Iron II and iron III oxides. Although it is available naturally, this compound is primarily synthesized so that its particle size and shape can be altered. Its appearance is that of a black powder. There are multiple uses of this oxide. Its nano particles are used in MRI scanning, in its intravenous form it is used to treat anemia and is widely distributed by pharmaceuticals companies, it is also a type of thermite that is useful for cutting steel. Iron II, III oxide is also used as a catalyst in the Haber process (used to industrially produce ammonia) and in water-gas shift reaction (used in the cost-efficient industrial production of hydrogen).
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