What Is Wrought Iron? Difference Between Wrought Iron And Regular Iron
What Is Wrought Iron?
Wrought iron is a type of iron alloy that is created by heating, hammering and bending it to shape. It is known for its malleability, strength and resistance to corrosion.
Wrought iron has been used in the construction of everything from buildings to bridges, furniture and even sculptures due to its durability and easy working with.
It can be shaped into intricate patterns without weakening its structural integrity.
As an added benefit, wrought iron has beautiful aesthetic qualities which made it a popular material choice for centuries. Its unique look adds character to any structure no matter how small or large.
What Is In Wrought Iron?
Wrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon content (less than 0.08%) compared to cast iron (2.1% to 4%).
It is a semi-fused iron material with inclusions of fibrous slag (up to 2% by weight), giving it a visible “grain-like” texture when etched, rusted, or bent.
This material is tough, malleable, ductile, corrosion-resistant, and easily forge welded, but harder to weld electrically.
Before steelmaking advancements and availability, wrought iron was the most common form of malleable iron and was named so because it was worked (hammered, rolled) while hot to expel molten slag.
The modern equivalent of wrought iron is mild steel or low-carbon steel, lacking enough carbon to be hardened by heating and quenching.
Wrought iron is highly refined, 99.4% iron by mass, with a small amount of silicate slag in fibrous form, beneficial for blacksmithing operations as a flux, giving the material its unique structure, and protecting it from corrosion and fatigue caused by shock and vibration.
What Is The Difference Between Wrought Iron And Regular Iron?
Wrought iron and regular iron are both forms of the same metal, but they have some key differences.
Wrought iron is an alloy made from iron and other elements such as carbon, silicon or manganese, which makes it tougher, more durable and easier to work with than regular iron.
Wrought iron also has a greater resistance to corrosion than regular iron because it contains much lower concentrations of sulfur and phosphorus.
Regular iron is mainly composed of pure elemental iron and does not contain any additional elements.
It is softer than wrought iron and can be used for several purposes like making containers or pipes; however, its tendency to corrode more easily due to higher concentrations of sulfur and phosphorus makes it less suitable for products which are exposed to the elements like buildings or bridges.
What Is Wrought Iron Used For?
Wrought iron is a type of iron that has been heated and then worked with tools to create various shapes.
It is often used in creating decorative items such as fencing and railings, sculptures, furniture, gates, and light fixtures.
It has also found use in the production of suits of armor and parts for ships.
Wrought iron is ideal for creating structures that need to be highly durable since it doesn’t corrode easily or quickly break down when exposed to the elements.
For these reasons, it continues to be used as an ornamental building material as well as in other applications where long-term durability is necessary.
Can Wrought Iron Rust?
Yes, wrought iron can rust, although it is much more resistant to corrosion and rusting than other forms of iron.
This is because of its chemical composition which includes very low amounts of carbon as compared to other types of iron.
Additionally, the high amount of slag content in wrought iron gives it better resistance against corrosion and oxidation, thus making it less likely to rust when exposed to moisture or water.
However, prolonged exposure can still cause it to start corroding and forming rust due to the presence of oxygen in the environment.
How Do You Identify Wrought Iron?
Metal workers can use several methods to determine if a metal is wrought iron or steel, including:
- Spark test (long, red sparks for wrought iron, white sparks for steel)
- Break test (fibrous inner appearance for wrought iron, smooth fractures for steel)
- Forgeability test (difference in feel when struck with a hammer)
- Hardenability test (lower hardening point for steel), and
- Polish/grain test (linear surface from added slag for wrought iron, no such appearance for steel).
Why Is Wrought Iron So Expensive?
Wrought iron is produced through the process of heating and molding cast iron multiple times, resulting in its unique layered structure.
This method of production makes wrought iron a more expensive material due to its labor-intensive nature.
It boasts higher tensile strength and flexibility compared to cast iron, but some manufacturers opt to blend it with cast iron for cost-effectiveness.
Installing wrought iron, especially for custom designs, may also incur extra costs.