What is Rust?

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What is Rust?

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Rust is the substance that is formed when iron begins returning to its natural state (iron ore) by combining with oxygen to become ferric oxide. This chemical combining of metal and oxygen is called oxidation. The oxidation of any metal generates corrosion, and the corrosion of iron specifically is what we commonly call rust. The steel from which cars are made is iron alloyed with a small amount of carbon and therefore may rust. Wherever iron or steel is exposed to air (oxygen), rust is likely to occur eventually. The oxidation process is accelerated by moisture, acid rain, salt and dirt, all of which act as catalysts to speed up the rust process. Do today’s cars still rust? Yes. Rust can begin in any area of the body, inside or out, that is exposed to the elements. A recent study conducted by Ziebart International Corp. involving 240 vehicles manufactured in the 1990s determined that 105 of the vehicles (44%) showed signs that rust had formed on the inside of metal panels. The predomi

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• What causes rust? • Rust Treatment • Abrasion • Media Blasting • HydroBlasting • Corrosion • Conversion • Encapsulation • Choosing a rust removal process • Rust Prevention Introduction This article is culmination of experience and significant investigation using freely available online resources. Where possible, multiple references (or more) were used for each section to avoid biased, false, misleading information. DISCLAIMER: Please use caution when working with any kind of abrasive or corrosive product. Always wear eye protection. Keep skin covered. Wear a face mask. Keep water nearby. Keep the area you are working in well ventilated. You should always have someone nearby who has been notified of your activities – just in case something happens, they will be able to assist you, and they will know how to describe what you were doing to emergency personnel if needed. If you have any doubts about your abilities – please seek the advice of a trained professional. Information provided o

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Rust is scientifically called oxidation, which occurs when oxygen comes in long-term contact with certain metals. Over time, the oxygen combines with the metal at an atomic level, forming a new compound called an oxide and weakening the bonds of the metal itself. If the base metal is iron or steel, the resulting rust is properly called iron oxide. Rusted aluminum would be called aluminum oxide, copper forms copper oxide and so on. The main catalyst for the rusting process is dihydrogen oxide, but we know it better as water. Iron or steel structures may appear solid, but water molecules can easily penetrate the microscopic pits and cracks in any exposed metal. The hydrogen atoms present in water can combine with other elements to form acids, which will eventually cause more metal to be exposed. If sodium is present, as is the case with saltwater, corrosion will likely occur more quickly. Meanwhile, the oxygen atoms combine with metallic atoms to form the destructive oxide compound. As t

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Simply put, rust is the common term for iron or iron alloy corrosion. Though most of the metals present on Earth eventually go through a corrosion phase, we only refer to the iron metal corrosion when we say the word rust. Iron corrosion represents a set of chemical reactions between iron, water and oxygen, which end with the transformation of the whole mass of metal into a mix of iron oxides and water that leads to the disintegration of the respective iron structure.

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Rust is the result of a conversion process that takes place when oxygen and moisture come in contact with metal. The oxygen and water combine with iron to create a brown coating (hydrated ferric oxide) on the surface of the metal. The interaction between the water and iron is accelerated if salts are added to the mix. Because the oxide that is created is bulky and porous, it allows oxygen access to the iron below, causing additional oxidation. If allowed to continue, the iron metal will be completely converted to ferric oxide or solid rust, which is weak and flaky.

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