Rust can cause serious structural damage to metal applications as it corrodes metal surfaces and weakens metallic bonds.
Why is it so important to remove rust from metal?
Many structures are built from metal because it is very strong and tactile. However, metal is often subject to rusting. Metals such as iron and steel corrode and the metal structure is weakened (as the iron oxide flakes off in layers and eats away at the remaining metal).
What causes the metal to rust?
Metals that contain iron rust when the iron particles are exposed to water and oxygen:
- Water molecules (H2O) have a small amount of ionization.
- The atmosphere contains oxygen (O2).
- The oxygen molecules dissolve in the water.
- The iron (Fe) atoms react with the water molecules in a process called oxidation, creating iron oxide. The common name for iron oxide is rust.
Preventing and treating rust
Rust can cause serious structural damage to metal applications as it corrodes metal surfaces and weakens metallic bonds. Once rust has set in, it can be costly to remove. As a result, the following rust prevention maintenance methods should be considered:
- Galvanizing the metal – this involves covering the metal in a layer of zinc so that the zinc will oxidize before the surface of the metal structure does.
- Degreasing the metal – industrial degreasers place a layer of oil or grease on the metal, particularly metal containing moving parts, to add lubrication to the metal and reduce friction.
- Painting the metal – this creates a boundary between the metal and the air and prevents moisture from getting to the surface of the metal.
- Treating the metal – treating the metal once it has had exposure to water and air helps to prolong the life of the metal structure.
Rust treatments are used in a range of applications including:
- Marine and shipyards
Find out more about advanced rust management technologies and the treatment and prevention of rust in industrial applications.