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Iron is a metal with many industrial uses, including carbon steels (alloys of iron and carbon in varying proportions). It is found naturally in its pure form in minerals such as magnetite, hematite, goethite, limonite, siderite and pyrite. It is also the chief constituent of hemoglobin which carries oxygen in blood vessels. It is ferromagnetic at ordinary temperatures and becomes paramagnetic when heated to its Curie point. It is an essential nutrient for all animals, and it occurs in every mammal cell.
Each element has a set of stable isotopes, which exist forever or until the universe ends. Most elements have other, radioactive isotopes that decay into lighter atoms over time. The rate of decay is characterized by its half-life, which is the amount of time it takes for 50% of a radioactive atom’s particles to decay.
In the case of iron, the half-life of the most prevalent isotope, 56Fe, is 1.5 billion years. In astrophysics, the presence of the radionuclide 60Fe in meteorites and its correlation with other iron isotopes provides insight into the origin of the solar system.
American Elements produces over 250 stable metal isotopes for biological and biomedical labeling, as target materials, and for research in areas such as metabolic tracer studies to understand genetic iron control mechanisms and human anemia interventions. Additional technical, research and safety (MSDS) information is available as well as a Reference Calculator for converting relevant units of measurement.