What is Rust and How Does it Form?

If you’ve ever left a scrap piece of iron, an old car, or even a bicycle outside for an extended period of time, you’ve probably noticed reddish-brown rust forming on your metals. But what exactly is this substance, and how does it form?

 

Oxidation Nation

Rust occurs when iron is exposed to water. When iron combines with water, it forms “iron oxide,” a compound that most of us recognize as rust. Rust requires iron and will not form on products that contain no iron; it doesn’t matter how long you leave that aluminum soda can outside, it won’t rust. However, rust may form on iron compounds, like steel alongside pure iron.

Rust, if left untreated, can eat away at metal and compromise its structural integrity. In fact, rust that’s been left for long enough may even bore through the metal, forming holes or allowing the outer layer of rust to be peeled away with a fingernail.

 

Don’t Trash It
So once metal has become rusty, it’s pretty much useless—right? Wrong! Metal recycling services in Philadelphia and around the country can breathe new life into rusty metal through purification. The purification process adds elements like carbon to the rust to free the iron, allowing it to be melted down and recycled.

However, it’s important to note that rust weighs significantly less than iron itself—so if you’re selling scrap metal by the pound, you can expect a rusted piece of metal to fetch a lower price than a piece of scrap metal of the same size that has no rust.

Do you have a pile of scrap metal taking up space on your property? Sgt. Scrap’s roll off containers in Camden County make it easy to turn old mental and remnants into cash! Give us a call today at 800-833-6983 to learn more and get started!  

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