Steel yourself for iron exhibitForget the Iron Age; iron is as important now as it was 3,000 years ago.
The Steel Gallery on the first floor of the Posco building in Daechi-dong, southern Seoul, is a great place to satisfy your curiosity about this vital natural substance. The gallery claims to be the only educational site in the country devoted to the element. Not surprisingly, the gallery is operated by Posco, the grandfather of the Korean steel industry.
The gallery is divided into logical sections. At the Iron and Magnetism corner, you will discover one of the most important characteristics of iron by watching an electromagnet lift up an iron ball.
Eventually the ball rests in mid-air, as if it were being levitated. This occurs because the force of the electromagnet and of the Earth’s gravity is equal.
Recyclers use this principle to distinguish aluminum beer cans from iron food cans. When a powerful magnet is dangled above a mountain of cans, the iron ones stick to the magnet like a bunch of grapes, while the aluminum cans remain in the pile.
Iron’s characteristics change depending on what metals it is combined with. When iron is mixed with manganese, for instance, vibration decreases. Visitors can compare the volume of pure iron bells with bells made of an alloy of manganese and iron by simply pressing a button. As the different bells ring, their respective vibration levels are displayed numerically.
A cutout of a suspension bridge highlights another exhibit. By looking at a sectional diagram of a bridge, visitors can see the hundreds of iron ropes that were twisted together to provide the bridge’s strength.
The gallery also displays a cutaway of a household LPG can, showing that it’s made of iron as well. If that’s not enough, visitors can also touch all sorts of iron products such as steel plates and steel sheets. Knowledgeable staff are on hand to answer any questions in as much detail as required.
After visiting the Steel Gallery, peek into the Posco museum next door. This facility details the company history from its founding to its emergence as a steel industry giant. Visitors are shown a film featuring Honorary Chairman Park Tae-Joon, whose management philosophy played an important role in Posco’s success.
by Park Bang-ju
For more information on the exhibit, call (02) 3457-1719.