The most common form of rust occurs when iron reacts with oxygen and moisture to create corrosion, although there are other types of rust that are not encountered as often, such as when iron combines with chlorine.
One reason why factory owners expect impeccable standards from joint makers, material suppliers and seal manufacturers is because they want to ensure that equipment is not vulnerable to this form of deterioration.
It is a common problem for homeowners and manufacturing firms alike because so many commonly-used materials contain iron; for instance, steel.
Is rust so bad? Apart from the orange-brown decay that attaches itself to materials, the real issue is that the safety of a device is likely to be compromised by the deteriorating composition of the metal and its negative effects do not stop there.
Once one section of a machine has rusted, any section near it could begin to rust as well, as the problem spreads like a virus, particularly if you fail to remove the source of moisture or oxygen that is causing the damage.
But it is not just the equipment that can suffer as a result of the onset of rust, it can cause skin irritations, potential sickness and tetanus if it comes into contact with a person or pet.
How can I stop it? One of the most commonly asked questions from any equipment owner, whether they have a boat, car, bicycle or a whole factory, is how to stop rust from developing or spreading once it has taken hold.
The key is to aim for prevention rather than repair, since the former tend to be much simpler and effective than the latter.
There are all sorts of options available to people, with each solution dependent on the material in question, its immediate environment and what it is used for.
What are my options? In essence, the aim is to stop moisture from coming into contact with the iron, so it is often as easy as applying a durable acrylic - not aqueous-based - paint or periodically adding a layer of oil to act in the same way.
Some other options include the use of silica gel, which controls the humidity around an item, and plating the device with zinc, tin or chrome. More advanced alternatives are galvanisation, cathodic protection, inhibitors and bluing, which is commonly used for guns.
Be sure to consider the value of the equipment and how vital it is to you or your business before investing in a expensive treatment.
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