How Does Rust Occur?

corrosion prevention

Rust formation on metals

Rust is actually a natural phenomenon that occurs when certain metals are exposed to oxygen and water for a certain period of time. But in reality, the main metals that rust are iron and steel. Other metals will corrode but will not rust. Rust forms on metals because a chemical change occurs.

The very air and anything with matter around us is made up of different chemicals, and these, in turn, are made of atoms. These atoms can bond to create new chemicals, or join up to create chemical compounds. Rust is actually a chemical compound. Iron atoms can fuse with oxygen and hydrogen atoms. The catalyst or chemical reaction is by adding water that will result in rust.

In an environment that is totally dry, iron or steel will not rust. But when moisture is added, the oxidation process of rust will start up. Since the air around us contains moisture, oxidation will occur even if there is no water added to the metal. There is also enough oxygen and hydrogen in the air to allow the atoms to bond with metals. This creates the chemical reaction called oxidation, or rust.

What is the difference between rust and corrosion?

Corrosion is the process of deterioration of certain materials (such as iron or metal) as a result of chemical, electrochemical, or other reactions.

On the other hand, rust is just a part of corrosion. Rust is a chemical reaction by itself that results in red or orange corroding on the surface of metals. While rusting occurs due to the exposure of metals to air and moisture, corrosion can also similarly occur or when exposed to some chemicals.

Thus, when rust prevention is discussed, it is also the same as corrosion prevention since the action is to prevent the chemical reaction of rust or corrosion to occur.

Preventing Rust or Corrosion

There are things that you can do for rust or corrosion prevention. Tools can be kept in a dry area like a toolbox. However, rust can still form on any metal in storage, though the process is much slower. If your area is quite humid, you may consider investing in VCI technology such as silica gel bags or emitters.

For metals that need to be stored outdoors or in warehouses for long periods of time, like spare parts or newly manufactured metal parts that need to be shipped overseas, corrosion prevention can be enhanced by using a peelable, flexible, polyvinyl chloride copolymer solution coating called Unituff 452 (formerly Seal’n’Peel). Unituff 452 is a heavy-duty coating that protects all metals against the encroachment of moisture and other compounds that can start the process of oxidation.

To learn more about Unituff 452 protective coating, visit Unituff at their website, https://unituffglobal.com/.