The three main oxides of iron
Iron(III) oxide or ferric oxide is the inorganic compound with the formula Fe2O3.
Iron(II) oxide (FeO), which is rare,
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.
Fe2O3 is ferromagnetic, dark red, and readily attacked by acids. Iron(III) oxide is often called rust, and to some extent this label is useful, because rust shares several properties and has a similar composition. To a chemist, rust is considered an ill-defined material, described as hydrated ferric oxide.[
A very fine powder of ferric oxide is known as “jeweller’s rouge”, “red rouge”, or simply rouge. It is used to put the final polish on metallic jewellery and lenses, and historically as a cosmetic. Rouge cuts more slowly than some modern polishes, such as cerium(IV) oxide, but is still used in optics fabrication and by jewellers for the superior finish it can produce. When polishing gold, the rouge slightly stains the gold, which contributes to the appearance of the finished piece.
Rouge is sold as a powder, paste, laced on polishing cloths, or solid bar (with a wax or grease binder). Other polishing compounds are also often called “rouge”, even when they do not contain iron oxide. Jewellers remove the residual rouge on jewellery by use of ultrasonic cleaning. Products sold as “stropping compound” are often applied to a leather strop to assist in getting a razor edge on knives, straight razors, or any other edged tool
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