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Zinc nails and rusting


I am an 8th grader doing a science experiment! My title is " Which substance will a zinc nail rust fastest in?" and my substances are detergent, vinegar [in bulk on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] and tap water! I need information about rusting and about the different effects that the different substances will have on zinc nails! Do you have any information you could give me? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE write me back! It seems almost impossible to find any information on my topic of rusting! I hope you can help me!

Thank you!

Lauren Crawford
- Jacksonville, Florida, United States

Lauren: I am absolutely sure that the point of this assignment is not to read which material is supposed to rust a zinc coated nail fastest, but to actually learn the answer from experiment.

Please do the following: get three roofing nails from a hardware store if there are none hanging around the house. Put one in each of three glass dessert bowls. Pour enough water in one, vinegar in another, and detergent in a third to fully cover the nail. Look at them in a few days and get back to us.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

I have also done a project similar to yours in the past. Try tomatoe juice and milk and see what affect that has on the rusting of the nails! Good luck! (Science fairs are never fun.)

Andrea Ficco
- Dallas, Texas

I am a teacher at MIT and one of my students preformed the same expieriment. he also did some reasearch and found that zinc will not rust but corrode

Bob Molerson
- Miota, Massachusetts, US

science fair is so freaking stupid. I am a High school senior and am able to exempt my exam.... but my teacher is making the whole class (there are only seven of us) do a science fair as our exam, a test grade, a quiz, and a classwork grade. I am going to do th easiest lab I can, what corrodes metals faster: vinegar or Coke. I wish you all the luck, though I think you have already done the project. in parting I say: SCIENCE FAIR SUCKS!

Myan F
- Aiken, South Carolina
May 14, 2008

Hi, Myan. You are correct to believe that whether Coke or vinegar corrodes metals more is a subject of very little importance or significance for a high school senior. As you can see on these pages, several 3rd graders have already done that one. Maybe you could just copy their work?


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
May 14, 2008

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