Ferrous oxide

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A strongly magnetic black powder that occurs naturally as Magnetite. Black iron oxide has been used since antiquity as a permanent black pigment in paints and as a green colorant in glasses, enamels, and ceramic glazes. It is now produced synthetically. It is sold as a pigment under the name of Mars black although it is rarely used as a artist paints because its coarse particles provide poor coverage. Black iron oxide is used commercially to produce green-tinted IR-absorbing window glass.

Synonyms and Related Terms

black iron oxide; martial ethiops; iron monoxide; ferrous monoxide; iron (II) oxide

Other Properties

Insoluble in water. Soluble in acids. Strongly magnetic.

Composition FeO
CAS 1345-25-1
Melting Point 1360
Density 5.7
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 71.9

Hazards and Safety

No significant hazards.

LINK: International Chemical Safety Card

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Susan E. Schur, Conservation Terminology: A review of Past & Current Nomenclature of Materials, Technology and Conservation, Spring (p.34-39); Summer (p.35-38); Fall (p.25-36), 1985
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 4100