Rusting is basically named as oxidation scientifically. As it is a chemical reaction of metal with oxygen.
When metal is exposed to oxygen in the air, it makes the metal react with the oxygen, which results in metal oxides. This is the process of rusting, as metal oxides are also called rusts.
Our question is how oil prevents or slows downs rusting? It is actually also a scientific process but extremely simple.
When a layer of oil is applied to the surface of some metal, it cuts its contact with air. That way, the metal can’t react with the oxygen in the air anymore and prevent the metal from oxidizing.
It is an old trick used by mechanics and DIY people. Read further to know if and how it works. Here is complete understanding about oxidation on metal and how oil prevents it:
How Oil Slows Down Rusting of Iron – rusting Process
If you want to know how oil prevents rusting, then start understanding the concept of rusting first. It is highly important that you know what oxidation of metal is specifically and how its process works.
Basically, it is not a very complex process. It involves a metal such as iron, water, and oxygen.
This chemical process is completely fast-tracked. It is a natural process, too, because air and its moisture are reacting with the metal. As a result, causing it to be a scientific process. In appearance, rust is a type of flaking and cracks which are red, yellow, or brownish in color.
The proper definition of rusting is: “degradation of metal due to a chemical process involving contact of certain metal i.e., iron to react with moisture in the air, in result causing the metal to oxidize and form rust.”
The equation for rust is really simple. As discussed above, water is a catalyst causing the rusting process. Without water, you cannot proceed with oxidizing the metal at all. This means to prevent the metal from rusting; you need to take water out of the equation.
The equation is: Iron + water + oxygenated air= rusting of iron
Over here, the rusted iron is composed of mainly hydrated iron oxides, and that is the reason it is deeply embedded in the metal pores.
As it is known that oil is immiscible to water. They don’t mix, and it is a very effective way of reducing oxidation from iron by just simply removing H20!
Water + oil = no solution, just oil particles floating on the surface of the water.
Molecules are incompatible
When a metal such as iron is coated with oil, it will protect the external elements from seeping through, and this barrier also doesn’t allow the water to help oxidize the iron.
H20 will be unable to penetrate the metal. Even a slick of oil does wonders for the metal. As an element that is even less dense than water, oil always floats on the water’s surface, which prevents their molecules from mixing, causing incompatibility.
Oxidation of iron on a commercial scale
In the industry of oil and gas, oxidation of iron is very common and a serious issue. This problem is still present. Water damage and oxidation are part of the problems. Corrosive gases, for example, H2S and SO2, are posing as major threats.
This issue has been explored throughout the years with the helping hands of the refining and petrochemical industries. High corrosive elements present in the air or in the industrial air are now high concentrations, and the facilities have laid out analytical systems to tackle it.
The Process in Short
This is why oil slows or stops oxidation of iron:
To make the reaction much slower, a coating of oil on the metal cools the chain for the rusting reaction.
The oil then stops the oxygen from reaching the metal, or we can say iron and decreases the concentration of oxygen in the reaction of rusting.
The surface area of the chain decreases because of the coating of oil, causing the rusting reaction to slow down.
The oil is acting as an anti-catalyst cause the opposite reaction to occur, which is also known as anti-rusting.
To revive the metal completely, you need to follow a certain treatment and steps to it. You can remove the rust effectively with many oil-based products available in the Indian market and across Asia. For ferrous metals, it is the best treatment.
They also do not cause any damage to the nonferrous metals such as aluminum, brass or copper, etc. Here are the steps to the automotive treatment of rust removal using oils:
- Remove any debris or grease on the rusted material.
- Using a wire brush, remove all flakes and chipped off paint to clean the surface.
- Rinse with water properly to remove any sorts of powdered substances.
- The chemical oil should be mixed properly before usage. For application, pour it in a clean container.
- You can either use a sponge, a soft brush, or even a spray bottle to apply the oil all over the surface.
- Within a few minutes, the dark coating will make an appearance dependent on the present temperature and humidity. If you see that the colors are uneven, then apply more coats of oil solution.
- Apply a second coat after 20-30 minutes of the first application. This will result in maximum protection.
- Before finishing off leave it dry out for 24 hours. Then apply a primer or finish coat.
- You can also use an oil-based product for the coating, such as oil paint, to protect your car from rusting.
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Preventive measures for rusting using oil
Plenty of oil-based products are available in the market to prevent iron from rusting. They are designed specifically for this purpose. But consumers can mostly just do the job using basic oils at home.
Once rust forms on your car or any metallic object, you need to remove it as soon as possible. As it moved deeper into the metal and caused permanent damage.
The damage can’t be undone after the rust has gone deep into the pores of the metal. So make sure to carry out the treatment before permanent damage.
The rust removal oils quickly penetrate into the metal pores and the smallest crevices of the metal to reach the corroded/rusted areas. This method starts as quickly as five whooping minutes, so better start at it.
Here is a list of metallic objects that can use simple oils to prevent rusting:
To remove rust from chrome, you can use light oils as they are the best ones for this job. As they even work on steel sometimes. An example of light oils can be WD-40. You will need just to wipe the oil off.
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Cast iron pan
To prevent rusting to occur on your cast iron pan, you can use as simple as vegetable oils to do the job. You will have to make an organic mixture of vegetable oil first. Using 2-4 tablespoons of salt in an equal amount of vegetable oil, then apply the mixture on the rusted area of the iron pan.
Spread it all across the pan to make sure if it didn’t spread. Then scrub using a paper towel. Concentrate all your efforts on the rusted area, so the results are effective.
If the rusty area is stubborn and hard to remove, then add more salt and vegetable oil to the solution and scrub with steel wool. When all the process has completed successfully, wash the iron pan with dishwasher liquid and wipe clean.
The commercial market has a lot to offer when it comes to preventing rust. Among these are:
- Linseed oil
- Motor oil
- Synthetic oils
- Branded rust remover oils and lubricants.
- Oil paints
Here you go! A complete guide to how oil slows down rusting of iron. This method is not only effective but used efficiently by people all around the world. It is a very recommended and safe way of slowing down rust on iron or any metallic surface for the fact.
It is also having no drawbacks so far if used with car. The solution has to be concentrated in order to work, so never forget to measure the contents before mixing it and practical usage.
The oil method is worth using as it cannot do any damage even if it doesn’t work. Oil is just grease. That is the beauty of it.
You can never go wrong with it. Light oils can be used as integrated forms of oils, but still, they are pretty much safe for usage on metal.
This way, you not only ace your DIY method to remove rust but also learn a few tricks along the way. Just follow the treatment with a complete understanding of all steps.