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Iron is a metal but is rarely found in its pure form because it oxidizes readily in the presence of oxygen and moisture. In order to obtain metallic iron, oxygen must be removed from naturally occurring ores by chemical reduction – mainly of the iron ore hematite by carbon at high temperature. The properties of iron can be modified by alloying it with various other metals (and some non-metals, notably carbon and silicon) to form steels.
Compared to steel, iron is very soft.