How To Rust Metal

How To Rust Metal: The Complete Guide

If you want to learn how to rust metals, read this guide.

It has all information you need about metal rusting including types of metal, basics on redox reaction to the step-by-step rusting process.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Rust On Metals

Rust refers to a form of oxide which forms when metals combine with oxygen in the air causing it to corrode. It is a discoloration that is orange-brown that builds up on the surface of metals.

Metals Which Rust

Some of the metals that rust include:

  • Iron: it tends to rust very quickly, especially when allowed to get wet or be exposed to air. It forms noticeable brown rust in a few hours referred to as iron oxide.
  • Aluminum: it rusts gradually when exposed to air and heat to form an aluminum oxide which can be seen as white dust on surfaces of automobile parts.
  • Copper: it tends to rust from its metallic natural brown shade to form a shade that is bright green. This rusting process makes it possible to use copper as a structural, roofing, and cosmetic building material.
Metals Which Rust
Redox Reaction On Metals

Redox Reaction On Metals

Redox reaction on metals is an oxidation-reduction reaction that occurs on the surface of metals. It refers to the gain and transfer of electrons whenever two dissimilar atoms interact mostly in ionic bonding.

The two reactions tend to happen simultaneously and are inseparable because when one atom loses an electron, the other one gains an electron.

This makes it possible to complete the redox cycle.

Liquids Making Metals Rust Fastest

Some of the liquids which make metals rust the fastest include:

  • Vinegar
  • Lemon water
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Saltwater
Liquids Making Metals Rust Fastest
Why Rust Metals On Purpose

Why Rust Metals On Purpose

Some of the reasons for rusting metals on purpose include:

  • For aesthetic purposes to give the metal an aging appearance.
  • To achieve different colors when rusting the metal through the different stages of the rusting process.
  • To obtain metal surfaces with innovative designs.

Factors Causing Metals To Rust

Some of the factors which cause metals to rust include:

  • Highly industrial areas: metals may rust in such areas as they possess high levels of chemicals which are found in the environment.
  • Moisture: the environment which has moisture tends to be one of the main reasons for rusting of metals.
  • Humidity: metals tend to rust whenever there are high levels of humidity in the air. It is important to note that metal takes about 4 days to rust in normal areas which have average humidity and low chemical levels in the air.
Factors Causing Metals To Rust

Step-by-step Metal Rusting Process

Step-by-step Metal Rusting Process
Step-by-step Metal Rusting Process

The step-by-step metal rusting process includes:

1. Ready The Surface

The first step is to make the surface of the metal you want to rust readily by moving it into the open that has a free flow of air for protection against poisonous fumes.

It is also essential to have the metal in sunlight as the sun fastens the rusting process.

2. Remove All Paints

In case there are any paints on the surface of the metal or a rust protective coating, remove them as they may prevent the rusting process.

You can do this by application of a paint stripper to the metal’s surface.

Once the paint stripper has been applied, use a paint scraper to eliminate all colors and paints. Ensure every speck of paint has been eliminated before moving to the next stage.

3. Sand The Metal

The next step is using fine sandpaper to remove every level of the protective coating as this may slow down the metal rusting process.

To ensure proper execution, you should ensure that the metal is placed on a flat surface and is very stable for effectiveness.

This will assist in lightly sanding the metal surface and cleaning it with paints and an anti-rust agent. You should ensure that you sand every part of the metal to achieve perfect results.

4. Spray With White Vinegar

Once this is done, you should put some white vinegar in a spray bottle and wear protective gloves and eye gear to ensure eye protection.

You should then spray generously the whole surface of the metal using white vinegar and then let it air dry for about 5 minutes.

When the metal surface is drying, the acid which is in the vinegar corrodes the surface of the metal object making it begin rusting and changing color.

5. Apply The Chemical Solution

Once the surface of the metal is completely dry, a solution of salt, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide is applied to the surface.

The formula for this solution is 4 tablespoons of normal white vinegar, 2 cups of hydrogen peroxide, and 1.5 teaspoons of salt.

To achieve a light layer of rust on the surface of the metal, spray the entire metal surface. If you would like to get a deeper appearance, you may spray three to four layers.

For different colors on the surface of the metal, spray one part more than the other and let it air dry out to obtain a better effect.

6. Seal The Metal Surface

To seal the surface of the metal to eliminate any further corrosion, you should use a clear acrylic sealer on the entire object. Once you have sprayed a thin layer of the sealer on the surface of the metal, everything will be sealed under the sealer.

Related Resources:


How To Rust Metal

Metal Rust

Chemicals Rusting Metals Rapidly

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