Rust Removal and Prevention: What You Should Know

It finally happened — the metal gate you thought was rustproof started developing that brown powdery substance that you dread. Steel and metal containing iron succumb to corrosion when exposed to air and water, eventually leading to rust and deterioration over time. The effects of rust include making metal and steel look bad and weaker.

Rust also causes holes to form and metal parts to become stuck, particularly sliding mechanisms. In addition, since rust also acts as an insulator, it degrades the iron’s ability to conduct electricity. To sum it up, rust is not just an aesthetic problem. It also poses a threat for structural stability.

Rust Removal

Although removal of rust is possible, it can be difficult to take off once it has formed.

  • Mechanical scraping – This is one of the most common forms of action to take. It is also the least expensive way to remove rust since you only need to use a wire brush. Once you are finished scraping off rust, apply special paints and rust-inhibitive primers to protect the surface from future corrosion.
  • Sand-blasting – This method also helps remove rust, but make sure that the pressure does not damage the surrounding areas of the metal.
  • Acids – Rust can also be removed by dissolving the object in acids such as phosphoric, hydrochloric, and sulfuric acids. It is not an effective method for permanently installed and larger metals, though, since you would have to remove and transport them.
  • Flame cleaning – Another effective way is to use an oxyacetylene torch. However, this is a dangerous rust removal technique, so it must be done only by skilled professionals.

Preventive Measures

stainless steel knife

  • Stainless steel – A rust-resistant alternative to consider is stainless steel. The chromium in this metal does not wear away as easily. Consider where to purchase rust-resistant metals, as well, for important equipment such as metal fencing and gates, car parts, and industrial materials.
  • Paint coatings and primers – These can form barriers between steel or iron and environmental exposure. Alkaline and concrete coatings are also known to slow rusting.
  • Cleaning – Always keep metal and iron surfaces clean. Zinc chloride and sodium nitrate can suck away moisture from the air and accelerate the rusting process.

Link to Tetanus and Safety Concerns

When you were a child, you were probably told by your parents to stay away from rusty nails to avoid acquiring tetanus. Contrary to popular belief, however, tetanus is not caused by rust per se but a bacteria called Clostridium tetani, which can be found in dust, dirt, and rust.

The cause of tetanus is, therefore, the bacteria, and not the rust from an old nail. Tetanus can also be acquired through other means aside from exposure to iron oxide, which is actually harmless to the human body.

In additions, tetanus prevention is easy and a hundred percent effective with just three shots of vaccine and a booster every 10 years. Be up to date and do not be afraid of the next rusty nail you encounter, but of course, remain to be mindful to your surroundings and environment.

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