finishing.com -- The Home Page of the Finishing Industry
Serious Education & the most FUN
you can have in metal finishing smiley

No popups, spam, registration or passwords
HomeFAQsSuggested
Books
Help
Wanteds
Advertise
on this site
FORUM
current topics
topic 26899 p2

What Metals Rust the Fastest (Steel, Copper, Bronze)



< Prev. page          Next page >




An ongoing discussion from 2003 but continuing through 2018; some of these grammar schoolers are probably working on their Masters by now

August 10, 2010

Q. Hi there, I am producing a keychain that will be used on boats and I need to make sure that the metals won't rust. The factory says the lobster claw attachment and split ring are made from Zinc Alloy. Does Zinc Alloy rust?

Zoe Friedman
- New York, New York, USA


August 10, 2010

A. Hi, Zoe. As we've said more than a dozen times now, only iron and steel can rust -- but that doesn't mean that the zinc alloy won't corrode. I would be very surprised if the split ring is zinc alloy as claimed though. They probably have to be plated with something to deter corrosion. Good luck.
Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


October 10, 2010

Q. We are trying to find the answer of that question, the answer is: 1st steel, 2nd copper, 3rd bronze. That's all, but please help me cause its our project also,
thank you.

fatma M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- philippines


November 1, 2010

Q. Hello,
I am 9 years old,in fourth grade, and I am doing a science fair project to find out which type of bolt corrodes the fastest; zinc plated, brass, normal, or stainless steel. I was planning on putting them in salt water to make them corrode faster. Do you think that would work or would it be better to place them in something else? I understand that these will not rust because they are not all iron, but what should I look for with corrosion?

Daniel C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Odessa, Florida



November 1, 2010

A. Hi, Daniel

It would be best to pick something real and repeatable to expose them to, like sea water. If you can't conveniently get real sea water, then look up the concentration of salt in average sea water and make a solution with that much salt in it as "simulated seawater".

A "normal" bolt would probably be plain steel, but you should call it "steel" rather than "normal". Stainless steel bolts are made of steel with other metals like nickel and chromium added to them to make them more corrosion resistant, so you should probably expect it to be so.

When zinc plating corrodes, the corrosion product is white. When the zinc is all gone, there is a steel bolt underneath, so it will rust. When brass corrodes it can be dark brown to black or it can be green. I would probably expect green when exposed to salt water.

The steel bolt will corrode noticeably in under a week, but I don't know if your experiment will last long enough for you to see significant corrosion on the other bolts. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


November 2, 2010

Q. I am doing a project on which metal rust the fastest. I am using a key, a can tab, and a a piece of a can. do you have any advice for me?

keanu l [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- laural maryland


November 2, 2010

A. Hi, Keanu. Somehow you have to determine what metals these three objects are made out of. The key may be brass (is it yellowish and not attracted to a magnet?). The can tab is probably aluminum. The piece of a can could be aluminum or tin-plated steel.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


November 1, 2010

Q. Hello,
I am 9 years old,in fourth grade, and I am doing a science fair project to find out which type of bolt corrodes the fastest; zinc plated, brass, normal, or stainless steel. I was planning on putting them in salt water to make them corrode faster. Do you think that would work or would it be better to place them in something else? I understand that these will not rust because they are not all iron, but what should I look for with corrosion?

Daniel C. [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
student - Odessa, Florida, USA

November 22, 2010

Q. I am 12 and I'm doing a science fair project and I don't know if copper, steel, or aluminum in water or salt water. My big brother did this last year but I don't know what the answer is and he is not allowed to help me. I thought copper rusts faster but I read the other questions and I'm confused. I also need names of books I can use for research.

Please anwser back,

Faith B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
student - Jacksonville, Florida USA


November 23, 2010

A. Hi, Faith. An important part of your project is clear thinking, and very clearly formulating what you are trying to do. Unfortunately you made a typo in phrasing your question, so we don't know if your thinking is clear or not.

Please ask your librarian what books to use for research. S/he went to school to learn how to help people with things like this; we didn't. She knows what books the library has; we don't. She understands your reading level; we don't. She has surely seen the same question asked by other Jacksonville school system students; we haven't. Not trying to blow you off, but a very important part of your assignment is to practice how to do research, and asking strangers on the internet what books to read is bad practice; asking your librarian is very good practice. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


December 6, 2010

Q. My son is doing a science project and it's about rust ... he is doing it with water, coke and orange juice ... one is a quarter a screw and a paper clip....does it matter about how much of the liquid we put and what kind of container they are in? I thought a glass jar, empty can of corn, and a plastic one will those be ok.....my son is in 6th grade and he is 12

Noah huerta-fuller
student - Alpine, Texas


December 6, 2010

A. Hi, Noah

I wouldn't use an empty can of corn since it may be metal and, if so, would corrupt your experiments by involving another metal. How much extra liquid is used probably doesn't matter, but the object must be completely immersed for consistent results. To do it really right, I would suggest having 6 of each object, and 18 small disposable plastic cups or glass dessert bowls, etc. Put water in 6 cups, coke in 6 cups, OJ in 6 cups. Put one quarter in each of two cups of water, one quarter in each of two cups of coke, etc.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


July 21, 2011

Q. Science project: if I put an iron nail in a cup containing water, what will happen to it after 5 days.

Ipshita P. [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
student - Quwahati, Assam, India


July 22, 2011

A. Yes, Ipshita, that does sound like a good science project. But don't just check after five days -- try to observe and record the results every 12 hours for the five days. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



September 12, 2011

! ! WHAT IF YOUR ANSWERS ARE WRONG HUH?

DOMINIQUE P
STUDENT - MIAMI, Florida


September 13, 2011

A. Hi, Dominique.

I was about to address your question when my aunt entered the room (she pronounces it 'ont'). She's asking for the keyboard, so bye -- Ted

- - - - - - -

Dear Ms. Dominique P.:

Should you discover that a stranger's kind response to your request for enlightenment contains an error, you may gently make a suggestion in that direction -- but only after opening your correspondence with the usual correct salutation and prefix of "Dear xxxxx, Thank you so much for your efforts...."

Very Truly Yours,
E. Van Post Mooney




September 12, 2011

Q. Hi I'm Nishat and for my 8th grade science fair project, I'm wanting to see what type of metal can last the longest in salt water, vinegar, lemon juice, or tap water (control) before corroding; steel, iron, copper, or bronze. I'm wondering where to get small samples of those metals for my experiment so if anyone could list off a few locations, it would help me tons. Thanks in advance! :)

Nishat J [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Student - Tucson, Arizona, USA


Metal Samples

September 13, 2011

A. Hi, Nishat.

Carolina Biological Supply has a "metal strips set" that includes aluminum, brass, copper, steel, and zinc.

Science Kit has something called "Metal Electrode Set" that includes Aluminum, Copper, Iron, Lead, Zinc, and Brass -- but they will only sell it to registered educational institutions. You can ask your teacher to get it for you, I suppose, unless you're home-schooled.

Amazon has a set of samples of aluminum, brass, copper, iron, lead, and zinc =>

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


November 1, 2011

Q. So to clarify, the iron substance must be completely submerged to consistently rust? Would measuring the mass of the substance every week be a good way to measure the amount of rust? (i have a month for the project)? If we were to use different types of coke (coke zero, diet, cherry) what in these would affect the amount of rust? Thank You for your help!!

Jim H
- Tuscon, Arizona, USA


December 28, 2011

Q. Ok, so I know that this has been repeated many, many, many, times- but hey, I'm only 12 in seventh grade and I have to write a whole paper for my science fair. So, I'm just asking on advice or feedback because I learned that gold, silver, and I think copper can't rust. So I changed my science fair question which is " Which metal TARNISHES faster out of gold, silver, and copper. Do you have any advice that can help me, or a correction to my question?

Nyla G
- New York, New York, USA


December 29, 2011

Q. Hi, Nyla. The question is fine, except that you usually need/want to conduct an experiment, and you may find it hard to locate gold and silver to play around with. I'll give you a couple of pieces of food for thought that you can research and see where it takes you.

Most metals are found in nature as ores rather than as metal. The ores or rocks are actually oxidized/tarnished/ corroded reaction products of the metal and oxygen. To make iron and other metals usually requires melting the ore at very high temperature while removing the oxygen so it can turn back to metal.

You have probably heard that you must never burn charcoal indoors because you can die from carbon monoxide poisoning. That is, when charcoal burns, it tends to steal all the oxygen from the air. So making metals often involves coal or charcoal, not just for the heat, but also as a scavenger that removes oxygen so the ore can turn back to metal.

Metal plus oxygen equals metal oxides (corrosion, tarnish, rust, ore). Corrosion/tarnish/rust/ore minus oxygen equals metal. You might find it interesting that metals very slowly "burn". They slowly react with oxygen in the air, releasing a small amount of heat over a very long time, and leave tarnish/corrosion products behind. Because they release heat, the corroded form is more stable than the metal. You have to add energy (heat) to get from ore to metal.

Gold is one of very few metals that we find in nature as a metal. The reason we do find it in nature is that pure gold does not tarnish or corrode, because it does not "burn" in this way. Rather, gold does not release energy when it corrodes. Most jewelry is not pure gold, but an alloy of gold mixed with other metals like copper and silver, and then it can tarnish.

Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


May 17, 2012

Q. I am 12, my name is Christian and I am doing a experiment for a science fair using steel aluminum and copper. What do you think vinegar will do to a pop tab and what to it and PS Any ideas for the poster board?

Christian M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- USA


October 7, 2012 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I am 11 years old and I have a science paper due and I need to know what makes bronze rust the fastest.

Lainie S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Youngstown, Ohio, USA


October 8, 2012

A. Hi Lainie.

We appended your question onto a thread that already answers it: nothing can make bronze "rust" because rust is iron oxide and there is no iron in bronze. But bronze, like just about anything else, can corrode. Any acid, including vinegar or lemon juice, will accelerate the corrosion of bronze. If you add a little salt, it should be quite corrosive.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


October 8, 2012

Q. Hi I'm Finn, I'm 12 and I'm in a gifted program at school. I was just wondering if you knew a way to measure rust growth on steel, it would be great to know a good way to measure.

thanks
-finn

Finn H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Lewisville, North Carolina, United States


CLR




Electronic scale

October 8, 2012

A. Hi Finn. The way it's actually done in industry is by weight loss. You make sure the item is dry, then you weigh the steel item before you start the test. Then you do whatever it is you do to make it rust. Then you use a stripping compound that will remove rust without causing any further rusting of the steel. Then you dry it and weight it again to determine the weight loss. You could try CLR for removing the rust =>

If you don't have an accurate scale and a chemical that will remove the rust, you can pour the rusty liquid that you created by immersing the steel in water or whatever through a coffee filter and rub any rust that is on the piece onto the coffee filter, and display the filter as a qualitative indication of the amount of rust. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


November 16, 2012

Q. What metal corrodes faster, copper or aluminum? I am doing a science fair project and was wondering if this would be a good project.

Benny [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Chicago, Illinois, USA


November 19, 2012

A. Hi, Benny. If I were to tell you that I was planning a science project to determine whether a Corvette or a Kenworth truck is a better vehicle, you would tell me that I need to narrow it down into categories like fastest, best cornering ability, able to haul heavier freight, able to traverse a deeper puddle, etc.

Your question is not a bad project idea, but you probably need to narrow it down a little bit by asking which one corrodes faster under specific conditions, such as when immersed in salt water, or fresh water, or bleach, or vinegar ... because one metal might not be most corrosion resistant under all circumstances, just as a Corvette might not be better than a Kenworth for every situation. And one other thing ... do you have a reason to care which is more corrosion resistant? If you find a topic that you care about, that's always best. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


December 15, 2012

Q. Hi! I am doing a research project regarding rust... what is the fastest way to let a metal rust? I soak the metal in seawater already... is there any other way? The faster and the better ways to gain more rust! Thanks and God bless!

John
- Philippines


December 17, 2012

A. Hi John.

Any acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar) will dissolve some metals to some extent. Adding some salt will speed it up. But you must let the acid dry up or it will keep the rust as well as the metal dissolved. So repeatedly spritz the items with a solution of vinegar and salt, preferably out in the warm sunlight.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


January 31, 2013

Q. I need this answer. I am doing a science experiment with copper, steel, iron, brass, stainless steel, silver,aluminum, and bronze. Which one rusts fastest, and how fast do they all rust?

Gwen [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]

- Missoula, Montana, US


January 31, 2013

A. Hi Gwen. As mentioned several times on this page, rust is iron oxide, which comes from iron reacting with oxygen, so only materials which contain iron can rust. On your list only steel, iron, and stainless steel contain iron, so only they can actually rust (although the other materials can corrode).

Other than that, your experiment should be okay. Tell us you results after you do the experiment. You certainly don't want to know the answer before you do the experiment because then the experiment would be a complete waste of time, plus you probably wouldn't believe the results that you determined if they were contrary to what you expected. Good luck, and get back to us with your on-going results.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


February 13, 2013

Q. Hi, I'm doing a project about steel nails and I'm wondering if you can tell me which liquid will make my nails --
a) rust the most
b) rust the fastest
c) makes nails rust
It would be very helpful to my project.

Seth [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Surrey, BC, Canada


February 16, 2013

A. Hi Seth. Are you asking which liquid out of all of the liquids in the world will cause nails to rust the most and the fastest? I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but I am reminding you that it is your project and you will benefit from it in direct proportion to how long and how hard you think about it.

Household bleach is quite good at making nails rust. Has your teacher given you safety instructions for this project? Are your parents helping you, reminding you to wear goggles? If not, read the instructions on the label and take them very seriously when they tell you not to mix bleach with anything. Good luck with the project.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


< Prev. page          Next page >




If you have a question in mind which seems off topic, please Search the Site

ADD a Comment to THIS thread START a NEW threadView CURRENT TOPICS

Disclaimer: It's not possible to diagnose a finishing problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations may be deliberately harmful.

  If you need a product/service, please check these Directories:

JobshopsCapital Equip. & Install'nChemicals & Consumables Consult'g, Train'g, SoftwareEnvironmental ComplianceTesting Svcs. & Devices


©1995-2018 finishing.com, Inc., Pine Beach, NJ   -   About finishing.com   -  Privacy Policy
How Google uses data when you visit this site.