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Q & A: Iron nails

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Q:
Are iron nails really iron?
- steph (age 16)
omaha, NE USA
A:
Most nails made today are made of steels of varying compositions. Steels are mostly iron with a small amount of added carbon and other materials to enhance either the strength, resist corrosion, or improve other properties. You may find old nails which are made of pure iron, however (or they may be made mostly of rust by now). Some nails are made of aluminum or copper or zinc or even plastic! Often they have coatings on them to resist rusting or which make them easier to pound in or which make them look better.

Tom

(republished on 07/19/06)

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