Many commercial businesses are all but surrounded by steel and iron, from machinery to tools and equipment, and even sometimes their building structures. But these two commonplace materials are prone to rust, a process that can lead to serious damage. In fact, rust damage costs companies around the world billions of dollars each year. That is why it is important to know how rust forms, what makes it so hard to prevent, and which rust remover to use on your metal surfaces.
How Does Rust Form?
Rust results from the corrosion of metal, which occurs when the oxygen in the air reacts with moisture on metal surfaces to form oxidation. This is why rust forms much more readily in areas that experience a lot of rain or high levels of humidity. Rust, also called oxide, doesn’t adhere firmly to the metal and instead flakes away, causing pitting on the surface. This process of disintegration leads to the weakening of the metal’s structure, which can eventually cause failure.
Two other factors that can contribute to the rate that rust forms are salt and heat. When salt is dissolved in water, such as in ice melt run-off that is commonly present in snowy areas during winter, it increases the conductivity of the water. This encourages the formation of rust. Rust also develops more quickly in areas that experience hot summers combined with a lot of rain or high humidity, as the heat speeds up the oxidation process.
Rust can also form on machine parts through other types of oxidation. This happens when machinery is exposed to acetic acid, which is present in many chemicals, ranging from vinegar to paints and adhesives. Rust can also occur in machinery with lubricating oils that are allowed to age past their point of usability.
Ways to Prevent Rust
For machinery, preventing rust is relatively simple in theory: don’t let it become exposed to acetic acid, and change their oils on time. In practice, however, businesses can sometimes be simply too busy or have employees that aren’t as careful as they ought to be. For buildings and tools, rust inhibitors are available that can be sprayed or painted on metal surfaces. This can help to slow down rust formation but must be meticulously maintained in order to sustain its effectiveness.
Using a Rust Remover
No matter how careful you are about using a rust inhibitor or maintaining your equipment, rust is difficult to prevent entirely and is certain to form at some point. Rust removers are available to help deal with this issue. Most contain either phosphoric or hydrochloric acid, which helps to dissolve rust. They are also, however, extremely harsh and give off noxious fumes, and require the use of a suit, rubber gloves, and a respirator.
Instead, try our Rust Converter ULTRA, which is a non-toxic, non-flammable, low VOC, rust remover that transforms and replaces existing rust with a dark and protective polymeric barrier. It can be used on any iron or steel surface, from automobiles to equipment, dumpsters, and railings, and also helps to prevent future corrosion by locking out moisture. Don’t let rust ruin your metal surfaces – use our Rust Converter ULTRA to treat and protect against future rust, and ensure the longevity of your tools, machinery, and more!