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SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
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hello, im a mature aged student and its been years since school

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hello, im a mature aged student and its been years since school and Im first year at uni. I have an assignment which I have to discuss the science behind rusting.

Metal is corroded by substances in the air and then through a chemical reacytion the metal rusts.
Am i on the right track and is oxidisation the same as corrosion?
Hello and thank you for choosing JustAnswer. When metal (specifically iron) is exposed to moist air, it goes through the process of oxidation/reduction (redox) and results in rust. Basically you start with iron (Fe), add water (H2O), and oxygen (O2)and end up with Fe2O3. The oxidation part is the breakdown of Fe to Fe2 + 2e- (the iron is oxidized and loses electrons) and the reduction part is O2 + 4e + 4H = 2H2O. Put those together and you get Fe2O3 or rust. And, yes, oxidation is a type of corrosion. I hope this answered your question!
My name is XXXXX XXXXX me to explain this.

So iron could be considered relatively "reactive"

So when moisture(water) comes in contact with iron, water is a great electrolyte so it begins to form carbonic acid(very weak though) from the reaction with the air... just sidenote, this is the same reason water begins to taste a little "sour" when left out. So this carbonic acid is an even better electrolyte(just like batteries use acids).

This mild acid dissolves the iron(as any acid would) and when this happens that is then broken into hydrogen and oxygen. The available oxygen then bonds with the dissolved iron making IronOxide. The free electrons from the previous process that go to the positively charged cathode.

That is how rust happens, its because of the availability of oxygen from the reaction, but basically because of the mild "acidic" compound formed from the moisture in the air.

Corrosion is a general term that is often inter-used with oxidation, but slightly different from galvanic corrosion, corrosion between a couple of different metals.

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(Edited by Moderator)
SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 508
Experience: Senior Information Specialist
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