Iron vs. Steel: What Is the Difference between the Two?

Steel and iron are two of the most widely used metals in the world. For centuries, these metals have been used to construct everything from buildings and bridges to cars and household items. But what is the difference between steel and iron? In this blog post, we’ll explore the history, properties, composition, and creation of these two metals.

History of Steel and Iron

Steel has been used since ancient times, with the earliest known use of steel dating back to the 4th century BC in India. Iron, on the other hand, has been used since the Iron Age, which began around 1200 BC. Both metals have been used throughout history to create tools, weapons, and other items.


Steel is a strong and durable metal that is resistant to corrosion and rust. It is also malleable, meaning it can be bent, shaped, and cut into various shapes and sizes. Iron is also strong and durable, but it is not as malleable as steel. Iron is also more prone to corrosion and rust than steel.


Steel is an alloy of iron, with carbon added to give it strength and durability, much harder and stronger than pure iron. The amount of carbon in steel varies depending on the type and grade of steel but is between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight. Steel also has other elements added to it to give it different properties, such as carbon, manganese, and silicon. These elements are added to the iron to give it additional strength and durability.

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Iron, on the other hand, is a pure metal that is relatively soft and not as strong as steel. It is composed mainly of iron, with small amounts of other elements such as oxygen, sulfur, and phosphorus. Iron is more malleable and ductile and can easily be cast into any shape. It is also very abundant and can be found in a variety of ores.


Steel is created through a process called steelmaking, which involves heating iron ore in a furnace with other materials such as limestone and coke. The heat causes the iron ore to react with the other materials, forming a liquid known as “molten steel”. This molten steel is then poured into molds and allowed to cool and solidify. Iron is created through a process called smelting, which involves heating iron ore in a furnace. The heat causes the iron ore to react with oxygen, forming liquid iron. This liquid iron is then poured into molds and allowed to cool and solidify.


Another difference between steel and iron is in their respective costs. Steel is more expensive than iron because it is more difficult to produce and is also more durable. Steel is also more resistant to corrosion and is less likely to rust, making it ideal for use in construction and other outdoor applications. Iron, on the other hand, is cheaper and easier to produce and is therefore more widely used in everyday items.

Strength and Durability

In terms of strength and durability, steel is the clear winner. It is stronger, harder, and more resistant to corrosion and rust than iron. Steel is also more expensive than iron, but its greater strength and durability make it well worth the cost.

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Both steel and iron are essential metals that have been used for centuries in the construction of buildings, bridges, and other items. They have different properties and compositions, but both are strong and durable metals that are essential for many applications.


Iron and steel are both metals that are widely used in many different applications. While they are both strong, there are some key differences between them. They each have their own unique applications, so it is important to understand the differences before deciding which one to use. Understanding the differences between iron and steel can help you make more informed decisions so you can choose the right one for the job.

Are you looking for a reliable steel distributor in Nashville, TN? Look no further than KGS Steel Nashville! We are the premier steel supplier in the area, offering a wide range of quality steel products to meet all of your needs. We offer a wide variety of steel products, including structural steel, rebar, stainless steel, aluminum, and other specialty alloys. Our team also provides custom fabrication services and can help you design and fabricate your steel project to your exact specifications. Let us provide you with the best steel experience possible. Contact us today to get started!

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