Stainless steel is a steel alloy that is combined with chromium for a smooth, shiny finish. The term "stainless" is misleading when it comes to rusting. Stainless steel, like any other metal, if scratched or not cleaned properly will develop rust on its surface. It is important to clean rust away from the metal as soon as it appears to prevent the rust from eating through the body of your appliance and damaging internal components.
The unsightly orangy-brown mess that accumulates on metal is a highly unattractive feature that plagues many different objects, especially cars, trucks, screws, bolts, and tools. Under the appropriate conditions, rust may strike rather quickly or take its time slowly eroding your belongings. When oxygen and moisture come into contact with exposed metal, rust is unfortunately the result. While the corrosion is removable in most cases, it is much better to prevent rust rather than deal with its aftermath.
What is Rust?
When the open-air oxidation of iron takes place, rust is the oxide that forms. While the chemical composition of rust (Fe2O3.nH2O) means nothing to the average homeowner, it is the resulting hydrated iron oxide that gets all of the attention. Rusting is the general term used to describe the corrosion of iron and its alloys, such as steel.
The process of rust involves the way various materials react with oxygen, which results in the chemical compound of rust. When iron combines with oxygen, iron oxide forms. Since iron oxide is larger in size than iron, the oxidation process causes it to “puff up” and sometimes flake. When a great amount of rust accumulates, the buildup may create a powerful force that can actually separate adjacent parts. This occurrence is referred to as “rust smacking.”
The Negative Effects of Rust
One of the first things an individual affected by rust will notice is the sight of unattractive burnt orange/brown that clearly indicates corrosion. The dismal appearance is especially disturbing when it attacks the outside of a car, where speedy attention is needed to avoid further damage and the spread of rust. Once rust begins to develop, it can spread like an infection, until before you know it“ you have a worthless item on your hands.
Rust damage on personal possessions (like a set of golf clubs), ruins the integrity of such objects. When rust strikes items and immediate attention doesn’t take place (such as the case of woodworking tools), they are often rendered useless and ineffective.
Not only is the sight of rust an unappealing aspect, but also more seriously, rust damage can threaten overall safety and health, as it can completely eat away at vital equipment and machinery parts used on a daily basis. Rusted bolts and other affected parts may cause an object to malfunction, break, or facilitate bodily injury. Rust damage in an automobile can create unseen dangers that affect the overall performance and security of a vehicle.
It is also possible to suffer from minor sickness and skin irritations when rusted pipes or affected water mains cause the water in a house or building to turn brown, red, orange, or yellow in color. Rusted pipes also create a damaging tint and condition in the water that affects clothes washed at home.
Contributing Factors of Rust
When it comes to rust damage, there are contributing factors that cause steel or iron to rust faster than others. For instance, water is a common culprit responsible for the development of rust that attacks iron and steel. Dissimilar metals will also rust faster than single metals because of the electrochemical reactions that take place. Therefore, steel may rust faster than iron, but the joints between the two will rust much quicker. Salt water also causes rust to develop quicker than fresh water because salt is a better electrical conductor. Heat also causes an increase in the rate of rust development.