Why Does Iron Get Rusty?

            You may have noticed that when an iron object is kept exposed to the atmosphere for along time, it acquires a brownish red cover. This is known as rust. Rust is a substance that forms on the surfaces of iron ad steel articles when they are exposed to damp air. Rust is a hydrated form of iron oxide.

Iron nails getting rusted

            Rusting occurs when the oxygen in the air unites with iron by a process known as oxidation. It is also called corrosion. But rusting is not only a process of oxidation because part form oxygen, moisture is also necessary to produce the change. The complex rusting process is an electrochemical reaction that is speeded up by the presence of salts and acids. That is why rusting is more severe in coastal regions ad industrial areas where the air may contain acidic sulphur dioxide fumes.

            Rust not only corrodes the surface but also weakens the metal. Small cells are set up in the corroding metal. It occurs mainly at grain boundaries of metals and where it stressed. A prolonged exposure to moist air causes rusting in iron materials, and holes in iron sheets.

            Rust can be removed by scrubbing the iron or steel or by using grinding abrasives. There are two basic methods to prevent rusting. The iron or steel may be coated with paint, plastic, or a corrosion resistant metal such as tin or zinc so that oxygen is stopped form reaching the iron or steel beneath. Chemically coated paper wrapped around metal objects also prevents rusting. The metal may also be alloyed with corrosion resistant metals such as nickel and chromium.