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Iron III oxide

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Iron(III) oxide — also known as ferric oxide, Hematite, red iron oxide, synthetic maghemite, colcothar, or simply rust — is one of several oxide compounds of iron, and is most notable for its ferromagnetic properties. Its chemical formula is Fe2O3.

The mineral form of ferric oxide is hematite; it is mined as the main ore of iron.
Iron(III) oxide is often used in magnetic storage, for example in the magnetic layer of floppy disks. These consist of a thin sheet of PET film, coated with iron(III) oxide. The particles can be magnetised to represent binary data. MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) also uses iron(III) oxide compounds, suspended in an ink which can be read by special scanning hardware.

A very fine powder of ferric oxide is known as jeweller's rouge, red rouge, or simply rouge. It is used to put the final polish on metallic jewellery and lenses, and historically as a cosmetic.

Rouge cuts slower than some modern polishes, such as cerium(IV) oxide, but is still used in optics fabrication and by jewelers for the superior finish it can produce. When polishing gold, the rouge slightly stains the gold, which contributes to the appearance of the finished piece. Rouge is sold as a powder, paste, or solid bar (with a wax or grease binder). Other polishing compounds are also often called "rouge", even when they do not contain iron oxide. Jewelers remove the residual rouge on jewelry by use of ultrasonic cleaning.


Iron(III) oxide is used in the production of pure iron in a blast furnace. Iron(III) oxide is also used in an extremely exothermic reaction called a thermite reaction.

2 Al + Fe2O3 → 2 Fe + Al2O3

Iron(III) oxide is also used as a pigment, under names Pigment Black 11, Pigment Brown 6, Pigment Brown 7, and Pigment Red 101 (also Iron Oxide Red). Some of them, eg. Pigment Red 101 and Pigment Brown 6, are Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved for use in cosmetics.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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