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topic 60534

Is rust contagious?

October 23, 2017

Q. Sorry for the salacious posting title.
I have a threaded assembly with a steel washer and a brass plated housing. The steel washer has rusted out and the threaded housing has rusted through right next to the washer but has no signs of rust anywhere else on the housing. So my question is, "Does the rusting of one part, cause rust on the other?"
I ask because I am hoping to fix the problem by simply changing the steel washer to a SS one to prevent the first part from rusting and thus protect the threaded housing.

Charlie Harland
- Kitchener, Canada

October 2017

A. Hi Charlie. Rust is not contagious. Rather, things that are very close together tend to rust similarly because the same environmental conditions prevail. Water probably accumulates in the gap between the threads and the washer. Put some thread sealant, or at least teflon tape, on the threads to discourage moisture accumulation and the situation should be somewhat improved.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

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