Which Types of Metals Rust?


Generally speaking rust is something we all can do without. It can be destructive and once it appears it can be hard to get rid of. In order to prevent or stop rust you need to understand what causes rust and why types of metals will actually rust. Read below for our quick tutorial about metals that rust.

What Causes Rust?

Rust or “Iron Rust” is defined as a redish brown; often flakey coating that forms on iron or metals with iron present when exposed to air and moisture. This means that in order for true “rust” to form on a surface it needs to be a metal that contains iron. This includes alloys made up partly of iron or metals coated or plated to appear to be a different type of metal (zinc plated steel). Once these coatings break down or are chipped the steel or iron underneath is exposed to air and water and the rusting process starts.

What Is Corrosion?

Other metals can corrode and the process is similar to rusting but they don’t require iron to be present. For instance aluminum can corrode from being exposed to water and air causing a white, chalky appearance. In the end result is the same, the corrosion is breaking down the metal much like rust does to iron and causing damage.

Do all Metals Rust?

By definition only iron-based metals rust. This means that other metals like aluminum, brass, copper, gold, silver, etc won’t rust; but they may corrode. The corrosion process is similar and may even look like rust on iron based items. The rate at which different types of metal corrode or rust varies on the type of metal and the environment they’re exposed to.

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