Once in their life, everyone must have come across some steel or rusty substance while exploring the outdoors. Whether it is an old car lying in the junkyard or a building with rusty pipe, this reddish-brown substance seems to be everywhere. This common occurrence is known as rust. So how did it exactly get there? The answer to this question is that rust is formed when iron metal oxidizes and develops this “rust” on its surface when it is exposed to air for a lengthy period of time. To say this in simpler terms, rusting of iron is a reddish-brown flaky substance that forms on an iron object after being exposed to wet air for an extended period. Rusting is the term used to describe the process of rust production. Even though a lot of people believe it’s harmful to the skin, it actually isn’t. Rust is not necessarily dangerous but can color your skin just as it stains clothes, wood, or other materials. Even a wound caused by a rusted object isn’t always more serious than a wound caused by a non-rusted object.
Chemistry behind rusting
Rusting of iron is an example of a chemical process, and it’s really interesting how it happens. The combined effects of both water and air on iron cause it to rust. This means that this cannot take place in air which is dry or moisture free. Environmental conditions and the factors relating to the components that control rusting define the particular composition of the rust. However, the final compound formed after the rusting of iron reaction takes place is hydrated ferric oxide. The outside surface of metal rusts first when moist air is present, and a coating of hydrated ferric oxide is then left behind. This layer is permeable and soft; if it gets too thick, it could peel off. As a result, the lowest layers of iron are exposed to the atmosphere and start to rust. Iron continues to undergo the process and eventually loses strength. This is why rusting caused over a long period of time can make metal weak and eventually break!
Also Read : Is Stainless Steel Corrosion Resistant?
State two ways to prevent the rusting of iron
Rusting of iron and steel is fairly prevalent and can be seen on a variety of structural steelwork, including fences, vehicles, and water pipes. So, it is crucial that we minimize rusting if we want the metal to last longer, maintain its original strength, and yield a return on our investment. It is indeed a challenge to prevent it when it happens in the presence of water and air, which are almost present everywhere. One way iron rusting can be prevented is by painting the iron or by putting oil/grease on it. Using these, the surface is given a waterproof covering by using oil, grease, or paint, preventing moisture and oxygen from coming into direct contact with the iron object. Rusting is thus avoided. Another way that is helpful for avoiding rusting is Galvanization. This procedure involves coating an iron object with a thin coating of melted zinc metal to shield it from moisture and oxygen. Hence, rusting is prevented. However, the first solution is more practical as it is more financially feasible.
Which is a method to prevent rust
Going for stainless steel is another method to avoid rusting; that’s the main difference between Stainless steel and carbon steel. Stainless steel has excellent corrosion resistance. The surface doesn’t accumulate any deposits even when subjected to extreme pressure and temperature. The steel’s surface has developed a thin layer that prevents corrosion. This layer is known as the passive layer. Once chromium is introduced to stainless steel, a passive layer is created. Given that it is used in many industries and in a number of household products, there is a constant demand for high-quality stainless steel. Shalco Industries is a producer and manufacturer of stainless steel in India and around the world.