What is Iron oxide?
Iron(III) oxide or ferric oxide is an inorganic compound with the formula Fe2O3. It is one of the three main oxides of iron, the other two being iron(II) oxide (FeO), which is rare, and iron(II, III) oxide (Fe3O4), which also occurs naturally as the mineral magnetite. As the mineral known as hematite, Fe2O3 is the main source of iron for the steel industry. Acids readily attack Fe2O3. Iron(III) oxide is often called rust.
To some extent, this label is useful because rust shares several properties and has a similar composition; however, in chemistry, rust is considered an ill-defined material, described as Hydrous ferric oxide. Fe2O3 can be obtained in various polymorphs. In the main one, α, iron adopts octahedral coordination geometry. That is, each Fe center is bound to six oxygen ligands. In the γ polymorph, some Fe sits on tetrahedral sites with four oxygen ligands.
Alpha phase of Iron oxide
α-Fe2O3 has the rhombohedral corundum (α-Al2O3) structure is the most common form. It occurs naturally as the mineral hematite, mined as iron's main ore. It is antiferromagnetic below ~260 K (Morin transition temperature) and exhibits weak ferromagnetism between 260 K and the Néel temperature, 950 K. It is easy to prepare using thermal decomposition and precipitation in the liquid phase. Its magnetic properties depend on many factors, e.g., pressure, particle size, and magnetic field intensity. γ-Fe2O3 has a cubic structure. It is metastable and converted from the alpha phase at high temperatures. It occurs naturally as the mineral maghemite. It is ferromagnetic and finds application in recording tapes, although ultrafine particles smaller than 10 nanometers are superparamagnetic. It can be prepared by thermal dehydration of gamma iron(III) oxide-hydroxide. Another method involves carefully oxidizing iron(II, III) oxide (Fe3O4). The ultrafine particles can be prepared by the thermal decomposition of iron(III) oxalate.
Liquid phase of Iron oxide
Molten Fe2O3 is expected to have a coordination number of nearly five oxygen atoms about each iron atom, based on measurements of slightly oxygen-deficient supercooled liquid iron oxide droplets, where supercooling circumvents the need for the high oxygen pressures required above the melting point to maintain stoichiometry.
Price of Iron oxide
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