How To Prevent Steel From Rusting
Rust can be very damaging to any metal. It occurs when iron reacts with water and metal leaving the surface of the metal looking very unsightly. In addition to that, rust can damage a metal and leave it with holes everywhere.
- Covering metals that rust with less corrosive metals is one of the best ways of preventing rust. A good example is covering iron with tin or another non-rust metal. That prevents oxygen from reaching the iron thus effectively stopping rust.
- An alloy is a mixture of two or more elements. These can be metals as well as non-metals. The aim of alloying is to change the chemical composition of the rusting metal. Non-rust metals are melted and applied onto the surface of the easy-to-rust metals. Alloys of iron don’t rust that easily.
- Coating with oil or grease. To prevent rusting, procedures as simple as applying a coat of oil on the surface of a metal can be very effective. Steel suppliers use this method on all their metal in stock. Oil or grease create a layer to protect the iron from direct exposure to oxygen. The result is the prevention of rust.
- Bare metal surfaces are usually painted with a durable acrylic paint to prevent rust. The keyword here is ‘oil-based paint’. Water soluble paints are a no-no. After all, they will expose the metal to water and worsen the problem. Although glossy to the look, the metal underneath will continue to rust.
- Cathode protection. This method of protection from rust involves connecting the metal by wires to a relatively more reactive metal like zinc and magnesium. Most steel stockholders use this method to prevent rust in underground tanks and pipes.
- Galvanizing iron. Covering iron with a layer of another metal such as zinc is very effective in preventing rust. While the zinc may react with the surrounding environment, the iron is kept safe.
- Preventing contact with moisture. When iron comes into contact with moisture or water, rusting becomes inevitable. After all, oxygen is one of the components of water. So keeping iron away from water prevents it from coming into contact with oxygen and rusting.
If you want to avoid the hassle of preventing rust, buy stainless steel, which is less likely to rust. However, don’t ignore these methods when using any other metal.