A general term applied to various grades of iron, especially gray iron and pig iron (directly out of a blast furnace). It includes a wide range of iron-carbon-silicon alloys containing 1.7–4.5% carbon, with varying amounts of other elements, used for casting. Its properties depend largely on the composition and the annealing process used. Gray iron (so-called because its fracture looks grayish) is the most widely used for casting vehicle engines, machinery parts, and many other products. See also wrought iron.
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