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What are the uses of iron oxide

Views: 27     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2024-04-10      Origin: Site


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Industrial applications


Pigments and Coatings: Ferrous oxide, commonly known as iron red, is commonly used as a pigment due to its reddish brown color and is widely used in industries such as paint, ink, and rubber. Iron oxide pigments have important applications in high-end automotive coatings, architectural coatings, anti-corrosion coatings, and other fields due to their excellent heat resistance, weather resistance, and absorption of ultraviolet rays.


Magnetic material: Fe3O4 has good magnetism and is the main component of naturally produced magnetite. It is widely used in the manufacturing of audio, video tapes, and telecommunications equipment. Soft magnetic ferrite has also been widely used in fields such as radio communication, broadcasting and television, and automatic control.


Catalyst: α- Fe2O3 powder particles, due to their huge specific surface area and surface effect, are excellent catalysts that can be used in the catalytic processes of polymer oxidation, reduction, and synthesis.


Daily life applications


Environmental purification: Nanoscale iron oxide has a good adsorption effect on certain pollutants in the environment, such as Cr (VI), and can be used to treat environmental wastewater.


Biomedical field: Nano iron oxide plays an important role in pharmaceutical capsules, drug synthesis, biomedical technology, and other fields.


Glass coloring: Glass colored with iron oxide can absorb both ultraviolet and infrared rays, and is widely used in the manufacturing of heat absorbing glass, sunglasses glass, etc.


The basic characteristics of iron oxide


Chemical composition and classification


Ferrous oxide, also known as iron monoxide, is a black powder that is unstable and easily oxidizes into ferric oxide in the air.


Iron trioxide: commonly known as iron red, is a reddish brown powder that is insoluble in water. It can react with acids to form trivalent iron salts and water, and has the properties of an alkaline oxide.


Iron trioxide, also known as iron oxide black, is a magnetic black crystal that is insoluble in water, acid, alkali, and organic solvents such as ethanol and ether.


Physical properties and color changes


Ferrous oxide: Physical properties are black powder with a relative density of about 5.7, soluble in acids, insoluble in water and alkaline solutions.


Iron trioxide: Physical properties are reddish brown powder, with a relative density of about 5.24 and a melting point of 1565 ℃. It is insoluble in water and soluble in acids such as hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid.


Iron trioxide: It is a black crystal with a relative density of about 5.18 and a melting point of 1594.5 ℃. It is prone to oxidation into iron trioxide in humid air.


Application in the construction industry


In the construction industry, iron oxide pigments have been widely used in the coloring of building materials due to their excellent coloring performance, low cost, and various advantages such as absorbing ultraviolet rays and protecting the substrate from degradation. Iron oxide pigments, especially iron oxide red, are often used as colorants for building materials such as cement, floor tiles, and terrazzo. Their stable color and good covering power make buildings appear more aesthetically pleasing. Meanwhile, iron oxide pigments also have a certain protective effect, which can effectively extend the service life of buildings.


In terms of reinforcement and corrosion prevention of concrete, the infiltration consolidation type concrete protective material developed by the "Ocean Engineering Materials" team at South China University of Technology has excellent infiltration consolidation performance compared to traditional protective coatings. It can penetrate small to nanoscale pores in concrete and solidify and crosslink in situ, thereby eliminating capillaries, pores, and microcracks formed by porous media in concrete, increasing the thickness of the concrete protective layer from tens of micrometers to a few millimeters, and thus giving concrete excellent anti infiltration and corrosion enhancement functions. This material has been successfully applied in the reinforcement, waterproofing, anti-seepage, and anti-corrosion of subway, tunnel, bridge, harbor dock, hydropower dam, and civil construction projects. In addition, the team has developed an organic/inorganic hybrid dual network structure concrete repair material to solve the problems of slow curing speed, poor early mechanical properties, and difficult underwater solidification of existing materials. The early strength of this material can reach up to 30 MPa, while the later strength can reach over 100 MPa, which can be used for rapid repair of highways.


The use of coatings and paints


Iron oxide pigments are widely used in the coatings and paint industry, mainly because they provide a wide range of color choices and good covering power. These pigments can effectively impart long-lasting color to coatings and paints, and have good dispersibility, making the coated surface color uniform and stable.


Iron oxide pigments not only provide color, but also increase the wear resistance and durability of coatings and paints. Due to its chemical stability and physical strength, iron oxide pigments can improve the weather resistance of coatings, making them resistant to UV radiation and harsh weather conditions, thereby extending the service life of coatings.


In addition, iron oxide pigments also have the characteristic of absorbing ultraviolet radiation, which makes them particularly important in outdoor coatings and paints, as they can protect the materials below the coating from degradation and aging caused by ultraviolet radiation. This pigment has strong acid and alkali resistance, high heat resistance, making it an ideal additive in coatings and paints, suitable for various indoor and outdoor environments.


The role in environmental engineering


Iron oxide minerals play an important role in environmental engineering, especially in wastewater treatment and purification, soil remediation, and heavy metal fixation.


In terms of sewage treatment and purification, iron oxide nanomaterials are widely used for the adsorption and removal of toxic pollutants in wastewater due to their excellent adsorption performance and easy separation characteristics. These nanomaterials have a large specific surface area and high adsorption performance, which can effectively remove heavy metal ions and organic pollutants from water. In addition, magnetic iron oxide nanomaterials can be quickly recovered through magnetic separation technology, improving treatment efficiency and reducing the risk of secondary pollution.


In terms of soil remediation and heavy metal fixation, iron oxide minerals can fix heavy metals in soil through their surface chemical reactions and adsorption, reducing their bioavailability and mobility. Research has shown that adding iron oxide minerals to soil can enhance its microwave absorption capacity, thereby enhancing the removal efficiency of organic pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in microwave remediation technology. In addition, iron oxide minerals can effectively immobilize heavy metals in soil, such as lead and cadmium, by forming stable complexes or precipitates, preventing them from entering the food chain, protecting the ecological environment and human health.


Manufacturing of electronic and magnetic materials


Magnetic ferrite is an important electronic and magnetic material widely used in the manufacturing of electronic components. Its production process involves multiple steps, including batching, mixing, pre firing, shaping, sintering, and heat treatment.


In the production of magnetic ferrite, it is first necessary to accurately mix various chemical raw materials, such as iron sources, magnesium, zinc, nickel and other metal salts. These raw materials are mixed in specific proportions and usually pre fired in a high-temperature furnace to promote solid-state reactions and form polycrystalline ferrite with certain physical properties. The pre firing process is carried out below the melting temperature of the material and is completed through chemical reactions between solid powders.


The molding process is to press the pre fired pellets into various shapes required for the product, forming a certain body. There are various forming methods, including dry pressing, hot pressing casting, isostatic pressing, etc. Among them, dry pressing is the most common.


Sintering is a crucial step in the production of ferrite, usually carried out at temperatures ranging from 1000 to 1400 ℃, to achieve material densification and optimize magnetic properties. During the sintering process, the ferrite material undergoes chemical and physical changes, ultimately forming a finished product with specific magnetic properties.


The magnetic materials of electronic components are mainly divided into soft magnetic materials and permanent magnetic materials. Soft magnetic materials are easy to magnetize and demagnetize, and are widely used in inductive components, transformers, antenna cores, etc. Permanent magnet materials are not easily demagnetized after magnetization and can retain magnetism for a long time. They are commonly used in the manufacture of various permanent magnets and magnetic storage devices.


Application in cosmetics and personal care products


The application of iron oxide in cosmetics and personal care products is very extensive, mainly due to its good coloring, safety, and chemical stability.


As a pigment and additive, iron oxide pigments provide a wide range of color choices for cosmetics. Iron oxide red (Fe2O3) is a common pigment, which provides a variety of colors from light red to dark red, and is widely used in lipstick, powder blusher, eye shadow and other cosmetics. Iron oxide black (Fe3O4) and iron oxide yellow (FeO (OH)) provide black and yellow tones respectively, used to adjust the color of the product to achieve the desired visual effect. These pigments not only provide long-lasting colors, but also resist the influence of light and heat, maintaining the stability and appearance of the product.


In skincare products, iron oxide is not only used as a pigment, but also valued for its antioxidant properties. Iron oxide can absorb ultraviolet rays, reduce their damage to the skin, and thus play a protective role. In addition, certain types of iron oxide also have anti-inflammatory and sedative effects on the skin, making it an ideal ingredient in skincare products for patients with sensitive skin or inflammatory skin diseases.


Overall, the application of iron oxide in cosmetics and personal care products is not only due to its color diversity as a pigment, but also to the additional benefits it brings as an additive, such as antioxidation and protection of the skin from environmental factors. With the increasing demands of consumers for the safety and functionality of product ingredients, iron oxide, as a natural and safe ingredient, is expected to further expand its application in cosmetics and personal care products.


Applications in the pharmaceutical field


The application of iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) in the pharmaceutical field is increasing, mainly due to their biocompatibility, biodegradability, and low toxicity. These characteristics make iron oxide nanoparticles an ideal material for multifunctional biomedical fields, especially in the development of pharmaceutical ingredients and diagnostic agents.


As a pharmaceutical ingredient, iron oxide nanoparticles can serve as carriers for anticancer drugs, delivering them directly to tumor cells through targeted delivery systems, thereby reducing damage to normal cells. In addition, they can also serve as antibacterial agents, utilizing the reactive oxygen species they produce to kill bacteria, which shows potential in treating difficult to cure infections.


In terms of diagnostic agents, iron oxide nanoparticles are widely used as contrast agents in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) due to their magnetic properties. They can enhance the contrast of the image, help doctors observe the lesion area more clearly, and thus improve the accuracy of diagnosis.


In addition, iron oxide nanoparticles can also serve as shielding materials for radioactive substances, used to protect medical personnel and patients from unnecessary radiation exposure. For example, in radiation therapy and nuclear medicine, iron oxide nanoparticles can serve as a shielding layer to reduce radiation damage to surrounding normal tissues caused by radioactive materials.


In summary, iron oxide nanoparticles have a wide range of applications in the pharmaceutical field, not only demonstrating enormous potential in drug delivery and diagnostic imaging, but also having important application value in radiation shielding. With the development of nanotechnology and the deepening understanding of iron oxide nanoparticles, their application in the pharmaceutical field will be further expanded and deepened.


The safety and environmental impact of iron oxide


When using iron oxide, the following safety precautions should be taken:


Personal protection: Operators should wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as protective goggles, gloves, and protective clothing, to prevent contact between iron oxide dust or particles and skin and eyes.


Avoid inhalation: During operation, measures should be taken to reduce the generation and diffusion of dust, such as using a closed system or providing good ventilation conditions, to prevent the inhalation of iron oxide particles.


Storage and Handling: Iron oxide should be stored in a dry and well ventilated environment, avoiding contact with flammable substances and preventing moisture from causing clumping.


Waste treatment: The used iron oxide and its containers should be treated in accordance with local environmental regulations to avoid direct discharge into the environment, especially into water bodies and soil.


In terms of environmental protection measures, the following points should be considered:


Environmental monitoring: Regularly monitor the environmental quality of iron oxide usage and storage areas, including air quality and water quality, to ensure that no pollution incidents occur.


Leakage emergency response: Develop a leakage emergency plan, and once a leak occurs, take immediate measures to control and clean up to prevent the diffusion of iron oxide into the surrounding environment.


Emission reduction measures: In the production process, efficient emission control technologies such as bag filters or wet scrubbers are adopted to reduce the emission of iron oxide particles.


Environmentally friendly product development: Research and develop environmentally friendly iron oxide products and production processes to reduce their impact on the environment.






Pigments and Coatings: Iron oxide is widely used in the pigment and coating industry due to its rich color and good chemical stability, providing a wide range of color options from brown to red.


Magnetic materials: Specific forms of iron oxide (such as Fe3O4) have good magnetism and are used in the production of magnetic materials, such as magnetite and magnetic recording materials.


Environmental engineering: Iron oxide nanomaterials are used as adsorbents and catalysts in environmental engineering for water treatment and soil remediation, effectively removing pollutants and heavy metals.


In the pharmaceutical field, iron oxide nanoparticles are used as drug carriers, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents, and in cancer treatment.


Future development potential


Technological innovation: With the development of nanotechnology and materials science, the synthesis methods and application technologies of iron oxide will continue to advance, promoting its application in various fields.


Environmentally friendly applications: Considering the importance of environmental protection, developing environmentally friendly iron oxide products and production processes will become a focus of future research.


Biomedical applications: In the field of biomedicine, the biocompatibility and low toxicity of iron oxide nanomaterials make them have enormous application prospects in drug delivery, imaging, and treatment.


Energy and catalysis: The application of iron oxide in energy storage and conversion equipment, such as electrode materials for batteries and fuel cells, as well as in environmental catalysis, is expected to bring new breakthroughs.

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