The Dreaded R-Word
In the world of metal, little else strikes as much dread as the appearance of RUST. Nothing will scrap a metal project faster than discovering the deterioration that rust brings. Not only that, but if you’re a business owner working with metal, and rust rears its ugly orange head on a project that your customer happens to see, their confidence in you and your work are negatively affected.
Rust affects metals containing iron when the surface is exposed to water. What causes the actual formation of rust is when iron reacts with the oxygen in water or other chemicals. It causes the surface of metals to flake off, thereby exposing more metal to the elements. And now you have a chain reaction that’s difficult to control, but could end in the disintegration of the entire piece of metal.
Metals that are prone to rust are ones that contain iron and steel (excluding stainless steel, which is virtually rust-proof). Other metals, such as aluminum, bronze, and brass, can corrode due to oxidation. In addition, hot rolled steel is more prone to corrosion than its counterpart, cold rolled steel.
Most rust begins with crack in the surface of the metal. Air and water enter the scene, and rust takes over. But what steps can you take to prevent rust from forming on your metal?
- Use an alloy metal that has components resistive to rust. Stainless steel is a popular metal that resists rusting or oxidation.
- Apply a layer of oil or a dry coating to the metal. These can’t stop rust completely, but they can dramatically slow it down since they prevent moisture from coming in contact with the metal.
- Painting the surface is another effective way to prevent moisture from affecting your metal. And while this solution may seem like one of the simplest, take care that you’re choosing the correct kind of paint. Look for and oil-based paint that is made to adhere to metal. And watch for welded areas such as bolts or joints; while paint may not be able to cover all surfaces, rust can find any exposed surface.
- Want to fight fire with fire? Try blueing the metal, which actually takes the metal through a rusting-like process. Blueing metal is accomplished by applying high temperatures and a salt solution. This creates a layer of black iron oxide, also known as magnetite, and leaves metal items with a blue or black appearance.
Have more questions about rust prevention? Or simply want to know about how to ensure that the metal you’re getting is the best possible quality? Our experts on staff at Arizona Iron Supply can take you through many options and ideas for the project you have in mind. We’ll walk you through our expansive metal collection so you can see for yourself that we treat our metals with care, and that we do all we can to protect our Phoenix metal supply so that its integrity stands firm against the harsh Arizona elements. And if you have metal already in your possession that is succumbing to rust? We have ideas for that, too. Let us know how we can help, including helping you to take the right steps to prevent and treat that dreaded R-word.