Preventing rust on metals starts with understanding the underlying causes. There are many contributing factors to rust formation. These include moisture, oxygen, temperature, and air. Knowing the cause of rust will help in the prevention. Let’s take a look at each of these.
The primary cause is moisture. If metal is exposed to moisture, there is a higher chance that it will rust. The moisture level must be reduced as much as possible to prevent a buildup of dust particles. There are many products on the market that specifically deal with this issue.
The next thing to consider is the moisture level of the surrounding area. If there is excessive moisture, you may have a hard time keeping metal from oxidizing. Moisture also makes the metal slick making it more susceptible to corrosion. A moisture level of 50% is considered ideal.
Another moisture level indicator is that if the welding of two pieces of metal happens immediately after being immersed in water, then it is very possible for the moisture level to form a corrosion pool. This pool can make the metal go bad much faster than if it were still at ambient temperature.
Oxidation is caused by a reaction between the specific metal and oxygen. The reaction may be in the molecular structure or it can be a result of exposure to oxygen in the air. Oxygen can react with any number of metals including iron, nickel, cobalt, and even aluminum.
As a result, the metal will oxidize at an accelerated rate. If left unchecked, the oxidation can spread until all of the metal has been oxidized, which is a very dangerous situation. Temperature is another major factor in preventing rust on metals. All metals are sensitive to heat and can become brittle when exposed to high temperatures.
Temperatures as low as -459 degrees Fahrenheit are known to hasten corrosion by forming a scale of oxide on the surface of the metal. Preventing rusting is also a multi-step process, and must be done properly and consistently to prevent premature failure of the metal.
When treating an oxidized surface, it is essential that you wear protective clothing, gloves, and a mask. Some people might not need to wear these because they work in industries that do not require their eyes or hands to be protected.
However, it is absolutely essential for all employees to wear these when handling metal and ensuring that they are following all of the procedures that you have instructed them to during the course of treatment. Failure to prevent rusting can lead to serious problems with the metal, such as cracking and corrosion.
Metal recycling centers have started to use UV light to prevent the formation of rust. This method uses ultraviolet (UV) rays to destroy rust molecules before they have the chance to form, making it impossible for the metal to rust. These centers are found all across the world and can be found in your local area through the services of your local recycling center.
Another option to consider in preventing rust on metals is to coat them with zinc to prevent the growth of rust. Zinc can be applied using a spray coating or with a brush. Be sure to consult a professional at your local recycling center about how to perform this treatment so you do not end up damaging the metal while trying to clear away the rust.
This service should only be performed by professionals because the zinc must be applied in thin layers, and the surface must be made smooth before it becomes fully exposed to the spray or brush. Lastly, make sure you double check the details discussed in this MIL DTL 5541 post on wolkerstorfer. You won’t regret it.