Fossils, Rocks, and Minerals

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  1. Pig Iron

    Check out this brittlest of irons, the first product when iron ores are smelted. Pig Iron, also called cast iron, is used in many familiar objects, like stoves, kettles, and flatirons. Learn More
  2. How Shears Are Made

    Explore the basic process used to create these everyday objects. Samples of the procedure exhibit each step of scissor production, from the heating of a slender bar of tough low carbon steel to polishing the nickel-plated blades on a cotton-padded machine. Learn More
  3. Abrasives

    Scratch through the surface of these practical materials. Natural abrasives usually contain minerals with a tough grain structure, making them useful in grinding materials like metal and wood, and artificial abrasives closely mimic this structure. Learn More
  4. Graphite

    Take a closer look at the graphite in your pencil and you'll be surprised to learn that it might represent the carbon from life forms of past geological ages. Though graphite is only one form of carbon, it is found in two places: crystalline clumps and softer rocks. Learn More
  5. Common Metal Ores of Illinois

    Unearth the valuable metals we know as ores. Usually found concentrated in deposits, these examples illustrate some of the common ores found in Illinois. Learn More
  6. Igneous Rocks

    Crack open a piece of igneous rock and discover the characteristics that make each piece unique. The crystal structure within classifies each type according to its cooling time and mineral ingredients. Learn More
  7. Iron Ores

    The process of extracting iron from ore is more complicated than you may think, the correct ore must be found, ideally free of excess substances. A small sampling of various iron ores and oxides are found here, displaying the rarity of such materials. Learn More
  8. Oil Well Model

    Take a closer look at the intricate workings of an oil well, bearing down deep through thousands of feet of stratified rock. You will get a glimpse of the machinery as well as the tremendous power it takes to extract oil from its sandy home. Learn More
  9. Hydrocarbons

    Discover the important elements that form the basis for natural gas, coal and bitumen. Natural hydrocarbons are all produced through delicate processes requiring thousands of years. Learn More
  10. Gold Mine Model

    Examine these tiny replications of a typical western gold mine and you'll discover the complicated processes and machinery used to harvest this valuable metal. Learn More

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