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Cast Iron Buying Guide

Published by Lucy Thurston on

Cast iron is a handy material that can be used for all manner of household items, from cookware to radiators. Originally, it was used solely for industrial purposes; however, it has since crept into household applications due to its endless advantages. 

Despite this, many people don’t know enough about cast iron to make an informed decision, which is why Rapid Metals has put together an easy-to-follow buying guide. We pride ourselves in being among the best places to buy cast iron as one of the leading UK cast iron bar and tube suppliers. We’re here to help you decide what cast iron to buy.

About Cast Iron

Cast iron refers to a family of iron-carbon alloys that have a carbon content that exceeds 2%. The process of casting requires the metal to be heated to reach its melting point, which will typically sit between 1,149 and 1,204 degrees Celsius. Once the metal has reached its melting point, it’s then poured into a mould to create the desired shape. The earliest records of this process date back to the fifth century BC in China and have continued ever since. 

Types of Cast Iron 

Cast iron comes in many forms; however, the most common types include grey cast iron, white cast iron, ductile cast iron, malleable cast iron. 

Grey cast iron is most commonly used in households due to its stiffness and thermal conductivity. It’s this type that’s used to manufacture cookware, in addition to manifolds and flywheels.

White cast iron can be defined by its resistance to abrasion, resulting in its regular use in slurry pumps and cement mixers. 

Ductile cast iron, otherwise known as spheroidal graphite or nodular cast iron, is, of course, ductile. Due to this ductility, it’s commonly found in water-work infrastructure and vehicle suspension parts. 

Like ductile cast iron, malleable cast iron is named after its primary property. On top of this malleability, malleable cast iron is also rather ductile. Consequently, it’s often used to build machinery equipment, electrical parts, and other types of tools.

Advantages of Cast Iron

As previously mentioned, cast iron is gifted with many advantages. Though many of these will be independent of the specific type, there are some shared advantages that apply to cast iron as a whole. For example, all types of cast iron are tough and durable, meaning that they’re able to withstand all sorts of pressure. As a result, you’ll find that cast iron won’t dent unlike some cheaper types of stainless steel. 

On top of this, cast iron isn’t porous, resulting in limited staining and making it easy to clean. This is a particularly useful property in our current situation as you’ll find that cast iron doesn’t harbour germs, minimising the spread of illnesses such as the coronavirus. Similarly, you’ll often find that cast iron isn’t harmed by harsh chemicals, meaning that you’ll be able to thoroughly clean the material without compromising its exterior. Not only is it able to withstand damage from harsh chemicals, but it also resists scratching. 

Furthermore, cast iron effectively retains heat and can handle high temperatures. Similarly, cast iron isn’t prone to fading and is also available in a selection of colours. Finally, cast iron minimises waste since it typically contains almost 80% reclaimed iron. 

Disadvantages of Cast Iron

Despite the endless advantages, there are, of course, a handful of disadvantages when it comes to cast iron. The first is that cast iron is quite heavy which can make it difficult to handle. Additionally, it’s relatively more expensive than alternative metals, and you may not be presented with as much variation when it comes to style. 

Cast Iron Household Products

As detailed above, cast iron is responsible for multiple household products, the main ones being cookware such as pots and pans, radiators, and also kitchen sinks. Each of these requires durability, heat retention, and hygiene, making cast iron the ideal material for every one of these products. 

Cast Iron at Rapid Metals

Here at Rapid Metals, we stock both cast iron rounds and cast iron squares. Each of these is available in several diameters, with cast iron rounds ranging from 25mm to 260mm and cast iron squares varying from 40mm to 100mm. The cost of our cast iron rounds can sit anywhere between £30.45 plus VAT per metre and £1,400 plus VAT per metre, whereas our cast iron squares will cost anywhere between £90 plus VAT and £438.90 plus VAT per metre. Therefore, we’re able to provide cast iron cut to size in order to adhere to the needs of your project. 

Buy Cast Iron Today

If you’re in need of some cast iron, be sure to browse our product range. If you’re unsure about what type you require, don’t hesitate to get in touch. A member of our specialist team will be on hand to assist you with your cast iron needs. 

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