What Are The Differences Between Wrought And Cast Iron?

If you are thinking about adding some decorative iron work to your home, you may have some questions about the differences between wrought and cast iron. Often the two terms get used interchangeably when they are actually two different things. 

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron is iron that has been heated up in a forge and then worked with tools in order to form it into a shape. This has traditionally been done by hand by trained blacksmiths. Decorative iron is still often made by hand, although there are factories where the iron is formed by machines. 

Wrought iron is generally made by mixing pig iron and slag. Pig iron is iron that has gone through a blast furnace and has been melted. This iron is also the base of other metals, like steel. Slag is the impurities that float to the top when iron is melted down. Those impurities generally include things like calcium silicate. Wrought iron should have a very low carbon content. When the pig iron and slag are mixed together, the metal is then formed into rods or bars and allowed to cool.

When it's time for something to be made out of those rods or bars, they are heated in a forge. They aren't heated to their melting point, but to a point at which they become malleable. The metal may have to be heated many times while it is being worked, depending on what is being made and how ornate it is. 

Cast Iron

Cast iron is iron that has been heated to its melting point and then poured into a mold or pattern. Because it is poured into a preformed object, cast iron can end up in a variety of shapes. The same metal that can make up the pans you use to cook with can also end up as a fence or other decorative feature. 

The iron that is used in cast iron often has other additives, which can help boost its carbon content. The carbon content of cast iron is usually much higher than that of wrought iron. That makes it have a lower melting point than wrought iron. That is part of what makes this particular makeup of iron good in molds. 

Whether you choose to have decorative wrought iron or decorative cast iron at your house, you are going to end up with some beautiful metal that can really enhance your home. Knowing what the difference is can help you choose the right thing for you. If you have questions as to which is the better choice for a certain feature on your home, contact a company like Anvil Iron Works, Inc.