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Steel, Iron, and Volunteering

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The difference between iron and steel? Really? I wasn't aware that anyone remained unaware that they were different materials after 8th grade science class at the latest.
This is what i knew when this blog was assigned in class:
-iron is an elemental metal. True iron is made up entirely of Fe atoms.
-steel, however, is generally an alloy which contains iron and other elements as well, such as nickel. it is generally also much stronger than iron.
However, since i have not regurgitated this information in about 6 years, my memory of what exactly the difference is beyond that was a little rusty (pun intended) so i decided to look it up on Encarta (the standard edition on the CD-ROM, not the online one that can be edited)
This is what i learned:
1) steel has a carbon content which is much higher than that of iron.
2) steel was "invented" sometime after the 14th century when iron smelting processes were getting more and more sophisticated, and wrought iron would be heated with charcoal to create these early steels.
3) many food packages are created using thin sheets of steel and then coating it with even thinner sheets of tin. this is not really relevant, i just found it slightly more interesting than the rest of the article.
4)there are 5 classifications of steel: carbon, alloy, high-strength low-alloy, stainless, and tool
5) steel is often used instead of iron because it is generally stronger, more resistant to corrosion, and, perhaps most importantly, prettier and shinier.
6) steel is generally hardened by using heat treatment. before this process it is a mixture of three things: ferrite, cementite, and pearlite, none of which i found interesting enough to bother detailing here.
So what did I learn today?
-the one unifying characteristic of steel as compared to iron is that steel has a carbon content which is considerably higher. So that is the difference.

I was assigned to the Marcy Open School. Though I missed class on the day when the community partners were visiting and everyone was filling out forms and stuff, the people over there are pretty on the ball and have already matched me up with a teacher. Her name is Amy Johnson, and during the time that I am available she has two different classes. The first is a math class, which she says is doing basic things like multiplication and division. But the second is the one that I am excited about, because she has a French class, and I speak French! Yay! Exciting! I've been taking french for about 5 or 6 years now, and I test as "fluent," but I don't think I am, but it doesn't really matter because she said that they are just learning basic conversational stuff (which I know) and that she will be glad to have the help so she can maybe spice it up a bit. At any rate, it is looking like I will be going down there this Thursday morning, so we will see how it goes.

P.S. I think that the image of steel beams working together to create something larger than themselves is pretty much the perfect picture for this particular blog. An example of two seemingly dissimilar ideas really not being that different after all.