Iron powder is a finely ground form of pure iron metal. It is widely used in a wide variety of chemical reactions and other industrial processes, such as the purification of gasified fuels.
It is also used in the manufacture of magnetic paints and other similar products, where it is used to make surfaces magnetize. Iron powder is also used in high-resilience molded and extruded components in the polymer industry. This is because it helps them become rigid and sturdy for various applications.
Fine iron powder is used as a catalyst in industrial reactions, such as the synthesis of ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen and the vapor-phase hydrolysis of benzene to benzyl alcohol. It also is a common ingredient in powdered iron alloys, such as cast iron.
Another use of iron powder is in the manufacturing of magnetic cores. These are pressed from a combination of very fine carbonyl iron powder and bonding material. By coating the particles with an insulating layer, losses due to eddy currents are minimized. This type of core is used in many high-frequency tuned circuits and suppressor chokes, where low saturability is more important than high inductance.
Finely pulverized iron can be a fire and health hazard, since it may ignite spontaneously in air at temperatures above 760 degrees Celsius (the curie point). This is why it must be stored in sealed containers away from oxygen and other oxidizing agents. It is recommended to wear impermeable gloves and protective work clothing when handling this substance. If inhaled, it may cause irritation to the skin and eyes, and if swallowed, can result in gastrointestinal disturbances such as vomiting, diarrhea, pink urine, and black stool.