by Jessica Smith, Guest Writer

Corrosion is a common occurrence by which metals degrade due to oxidation due to exposure to the environment. You may notice yellow or brown flakes on top of metal objects consisting of iron or steel. 

When iron gets in contact with oxygen, an oxidizing reaction ensues producing iron oxide, commonly known as rust. The presence of moisture can accelerate the rusting process of iron and its alloys. The presence of salt will act as a catalyst for further speeding up the reaction.

Certain alloys of iron, such as stainless steel, contain a high percentage of chromium which protects the iron from rusting. Metals consisting of only iron is prone to rust while alloys of iron such as steel do not rust, but can still degrade by corrosion. 

Careful maintenance can aid in keeping the metal intact and protect your household items from corrosion. Prevention is always better than cure, and the same is true in the case of rusting also. In this article, we will be discussing how you can protect your home items from rusting and corrosion.

8. Keeping The Metal Dry And Regular Upkeep

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As you may be aware, water and moisture are the most significant threats which encourage rusting. The oxygen in the water molecules reacts with the iron in the metal resulting in the formation of iron oxide or rust. 

Metals left in humid environments or outside your home exposes the metal to moisture increasing the chances of the metal item to rust. It is vital to place your metal items in a place where there is less moisture content to improve the lifetime of the item. 

You must also keep the metal items clean from dirt and mud sticking on the surface, as these elements can harbor moisture and encourage rusting. You must remove any rust from the surface of the metal before cleaning. 

You can also use a small razor to clean niches and holes that are difficult to reach for removing rust particles. You must then use soap and warm water to clean the surface of the metal off any filth.

7. Using Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron that is resistant to rust due to the presence of chromium. Chromium makes up 11% of the content of stainless steel, and it is more reactive than iron, preventing oxygen from reaching metal below the surface. 

On exposure to air, chromium reacts before iron with oxidizing agents forming a thin sheet of chromium oxide. This layer acts as a protective buffer over the metal, protecting the metal from rust. 

Even if the protective coating deteriorates due to use, the layer regenerates on the newly visible surface of the metal. You can further raise the resistance to corrosion of the alloy by adding Nickel to stainless steel.

6. By Galvanization

Galvanization or electroplating is the process of dipping steel or iron objects in molten zinc to form a thin layer of zinc coating on top of the iron. The zinc layer prevents the underlying iron layer from getting in contact with the outside atmosphere or moisture, thereby protecting it.

Zinc is exceedingly reactive with oxygen in comparison with iron, so the protective layer prevents oxygen from reacting with the metal. Even if any scratches form on the zinc coating, the layer continues to shield the underlying iron due to cathodic protection. Galvanizing can protect the underlying metal for years from corrosion.

5.  Powder Coating

The surface of the metal has to be clean before applying powder coating. The application of the coating material is through electrostatic spraying process in the form of a dry powder which gets uniform distribution on the surface. 

Spraying the powder by electrically charging the particles, makes the powder adhere to the surface of the metal, which has the opposite polarity of the particle. The powder transforms into a thin film on heating the metal in a hot oven.

4. Polymer Coating

Polymer coating uses conducting polymers such as polythiophene, polypyrrole, and polyaniline for forming a protective layer on the metal. The coating protects the underlying steel or iron due to being highly reactive to oxidizing agents in comparison to steel or iron. 

In recent years, polymer coating employs carbon-based materials and nanocomposites, which are furthermore environmentally friendly. The polymer coating is gaining in popularity due to its economic viability and the potential for use in a wide range of applications in industrial purposes.

The coating forms a thin layer which prevents the metal from exposure to the outside environment. Polymer coating also protects the underlying metal due to its anodic protection property, which makes the metal passive to the reaction.

3. Bluing

The process of bluing involves dipping the metal in a solution consisting of potassium nitrate, sodium hydroxide, and water. The term bluing owes its origin to the blue-black color of coating from using this technique. 

This technique is excellent for protecting small objects from rust such as small clocks and firearms.

2. Organic Coating

Organic coatings are another excellent method for protecting the metal from corrosion. This protection technique is popular due to being economical than other methods of corrosion protection. 

The coating forms a barrier which protects the base metal from corrosive elements in the environment. The oil-based organic coating repels water and protects the metal from moisture and oxygen.

1. Conclusion

Rust starts affecting the outermost layer of the metal and continues inward as rusting progress. Rusting and corrosion of metal can critically weaken the metal, destroying its structural integrity. The rust keeps flaking off the surface, further exposing more of the metal to corrosion. 

If you ignore rusting and corrosion, you may have to pay a steep price as the metal can corrode entirely. You can make use of these simple steps from this article to protect your household items from destruction due to rust.

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