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24 July 2017

Rust removal from metal

Metal is a preferred material for a range of structures thanks to its strength and flexibility. However it is heavily prone to rusting and corrosion.

 Metal is a preferred material for a range of structures thanks to its strength and flexibility. However it is heavily prone to rusting and corrosion. Rust removal is vital, but finding the best rust remover solution can be a challenge as there are many options.

When metal rusts and corrodes it is important to remove the damage to prevent the structure from weakening. Iron oxide, more commonly known as rust, will flake off in layers and eat away at the remaining, non-corroded metal.

 

What causes rust?

Metal rusts if it contains iron, specifically 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.

 

Prevention

Prevention is by far the most effective, and inexpensive, solution to rust. Though it may mean a larger initial outlay it can be far less expensive than treating rust once it has set in. There are a few rust prevention options to consider:

 

  • 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.

However, once rusting has set in and prevention is no longer possible, removal of rust becomes the priority. When it comes to rust remover solutions, there are a number of options available.

 

Treatment

A popular rust removal technique is electrolysis. This involves an aqueous solution and an electric current to ‘transfer’ the iron particles from rusty metal to a new piece of steel. Click here for an in-depth walkthrough of how to use electrolysis to remove rust.

However electrolysis can be difficult and costly to implement on a larger or industrial scale. The alternative to this is using a traditional acid-based rust remover solution. These often come with a host of drawbacks including toxic fumes and degradation of the metal and the environment.

NCH Asia Pacific’s patented neutral pH rust remover X-Rust 7 removes iron oxide from a range of metals including carbon steel, mild steel and cast iron, without the drawbacks of acid-based solutions. X-Rust 7 is far more environmentally friendly and just as effective as acid-based removers.

Our rust treatment solutions are ideal for use in a wide variety of industrial environments including agriculture, construction, automotive and the rail sector. 

NCH Asia Pacific offers a range of rust and corrosion products that have been specially formulated by our Research and Development chemists to treat and protect all types of metal. For more information visit our Rust and Corrosion solutions page.

 

 

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