What is cast iron?
Cast iron is a mixture of the following metals: iron, carbon, silicon and manganese. It is used for all kinds of applications such as heaters, pipes or machine parts. As cast iron contains relatively more carbon than "ordinary" steel, it is a fairly brittle material with a low melting point. This makes cast iron easy to work and cast.
Different types of cast iron
There are different types of cast iron. This depends on the carbon and silicon content. Below, we explain the difference between the different types of cast iron.
Grey cast iron
This is the most common type of cast iron. It is relatively brittle and is often used for parts under pressure, such as engine blocks and machine parts.
White cast iron
This type of cast iron is harder and more brittle than grey cast iron and is often used for wear parts such as brake pads.
Nodular cast iron
This type of cast iron is tough and flexible and has a higher tensile strength than grey cast iron. It is often used for parts that have to withstand heavy loads, such as axles and gears.
Malleable cast iron
This type of cast iron is similar to nodular cast iron, but is softer and more flexible. It is often used for parts that need to withstand a high degree of deformation, such as springs.
What is cast iron used for?
Cast iron is a versatile material used for many different applications because of its durability and heat resistance. Below are some examples:
- Cookware: cast iron pans and frying pans are popular choices because of their ability to retain and distribute heat evenly.
- Engine parts: due to its wear resistance and heat resistance, cast iron is often used for engine parts such as cylinder heads and engine heads.
- Water pipes: cast iron pipes are used for gas and water distribution because of their durability and resistance to corrosion.
- Building structures: cast iron beams are used in construction because of their strength and resistance to fire.
- Works of art: cast iron is also often used to create works of art, due to its ability to retain detailed shapes.
How hot can cast iron get?
Cast iron can get very hot and can basically be used at all temperatures, depending on the purpose and application. In general, cast iron can be used at high temperatures, up to several hundred degrees Celsius, without melting or deforming. Cast-iron pans, for example, are often used for frying or grilling meat at high temperatures.
Is cast iron heavy?
Cast iron is quite heavy. It is a dense and solid material. However, the weight of cast iron can vary depending on the shape and size of the object. Cast iron pans, for example, are quite heavy compared to aluminium or stainless steel pans. Weight, on the other hand, can also be an advantage. This is because it ensures even heat distribution during cooking.
Is cast iron healthy?
Cast iron is already considered a healthy material for cooking. This is because it does not emit chemicals as some plastic coatings do. Cast iron also releases iron during cooking, which is beneficial for people with anaemia. On the other hand, this can also be a problem if a person ingests too much iron this way.