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Rust FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is rust?
Rust is the common term for corroded steel or iron. The reddish oxide produced is caused by oxygen and moisture.

What causes rust?
Rust is caused by exposed metal coming into contact with oxygen and moisture.

Do metals other than steel and iron rust?
No, only iron and steel will rust. However, other metals such as aluminum or zinc will corrode.

How can I prevent rust from forming?
The most practical method for preventing rust is to keep your iron or steel away from oxygen or moisture. This is often achieved by painting the surface or by applying a rust preventative coating.

If I live in a humid climate, what can I do to reduce my chances of rust forming?
Since moisture in the air is one of the most common causes of rust, decreasing the humidity around your tools can reduce the likelihood of rust forming. If you usually keep your tools in the basement, moving your tools into a climate-controlled part of your house or shop can help. A dehumidifier can also help reduce humidity, but they are expensive to purchase and operate. Since running a dehumidifier or moving your tools is not often practical, we recommend Rechargeable Silica Gel Desiccants. They work to reduce moisture and humidity in enclosed areas such as toolboxes, drawers, storage containers and safes and help protect against rust, corrosion, oxidation, mold and mildew. If you don't keep our tools or other steel/iron items in an enclosed area, we recommend some type of rust preventative coating like Boeshield T-9.

How does galvanized steel work?
Steel is galvanized by covering it with a zinc coating only a few thousandths of an inch thick. The automobile industry now uses a zinc coating on body panels to prevent rust on vehicles.

Unlike other methods of rust prevention, galvanization protects the base metal by sacrificing the zinc. Zinc is used because it is more reactive than iron and will consequently sacrifice itself, leaving the iron untouched by rust.

Therefore, because the zinc coating is sacrificing itself, galvanized coatings have a finite life if left unprotected. This life is dependent on the thickness of the zinc coating and is measured in tens of years. Paint or other corrosion-preventative coatings can dramatically enhance the lifespan of the zinc coating.

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