Rust Proofing Methods to Prevent Rust from Forming

steel corrosion

Rust is that ugly orange-brown flake of iron oxide that forms inside hidden crevices or on surfaces of metal that contains iron that is exposed to water, air, and heat. It is a type of steel corrosion that is highly destructive and can cause overall damage to any structure.

The rusting process starts when iron reacts with oxygen in combination with water, salt water, acids, and other harsh chemicals. As the iron oxide starts to flake from metal, it exposes fresh iron molecules that will continue the rusting process. As large areas of rust form, this will eventually cause the whole metal structure to disintegrate.

All metals will corrode because all contain some amount of iron. However, only ferrous metals like carbon steel, alloy steel, and stainless steel will rust. Non-ferrous metals like aluminium and copper will only corrode.

As they say, prevention is better than cure. These time-proven methods at rust proofing are sure to prevent rust from forming, at least initially or at a fast pace:

Keep Metals Clean and Dry

Water is the best friend of rust and corrosion. The oxygen in water molecules combines with iron to form iron oxide. This is the reason that metals left outdoors, such as storage tanks and gates, are more likely to develop rust. Rusting may also occur indoors if the environment is highly humid, as in the case of a garage or basement. Keep metals clean as even mud and dirt that stick to metal may hold water.

Prevent Scratches

Scratches or cracks will expose the metal to more water or will hold water. This allows the water to remain in contact with the iron for long periods. If you need to purchase anything metal for the outdoors, make sure they don’t bump or scratch against each other.

Apply a Protective Coating

One way to protect outdoor metals is to paint them with several coats. Another method is to wash them at least once every six months using a solution mix of water, sodium hydroxide, and potassium nitrate. Don’t wipe after washing; simply air dry. The best method is to use a polyvinyl chloride copolymer solution that can be brush-coated on the metal, such as Unituff 452 (formerly Seal‘n’Peel). This external application is flexible and offers heavy-duty membrane protection around the metal that prevents even rust and moisture seepage and creeping.

Use Stainless Steel or Galvanised Metal

Though both contain small amounts of iron, both can resist rush because they contain chromium or coated with liquid zinc. Both act as a barrier preventing oxygen and water from reaching the steel. However, as mentioned earlier, all metal will eventually corrode, so it’s still a good idea to add a protective coating like Unituff 542 for galvanised metal and Unituff OGS specially formulated for stainless steel.

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