- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 02 Feb 2018
Iron is the chemical element most commonly found on Earth by mass, forming much of the Earth’s outer and inner core. On the Periodic Table it has the symbol ‘Fe’ and atomic number 26. Pure iron is relatively soft but it is significantly hardened and strengthened during the smelting process by impurities such as carbon.
While the use of iron for building purposes dates back to early civilisations, its use for decoration became more widespread between the 16th and 19th centuries. Ironwork began to be used during the medieval period for defensive purposes, but became more ornate and decorative in the Baroque and Rococo architectural periods, particularly for:
The two main types of ironwork are:
Wrought iron is a very low carbon metal made by intensive hand work using small scale production methods. The term 'cast iron' refers to a range of iron-carbon alloys, with a carbon content that is typically between 2 and 4%. Cast iron is manufactured by re-melting pig iron along with quantities of limestone, silicon and carbon (and sometimes scrap steel).
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Reports emerge of injuries caused by Apple employees colliding with the campus' glazed walls.
Create new habitats and improve air quality and wellbeing.
Studying a built environment degree? Check out our helpful student resources section.
Timber is a natural carbon sink, but it must not end up in landfill at the end of its useful life.