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The Difference Between Rust and Galvanic Corrosion

The Difference Between Rust and Galvanic Corrosion

Rust and galvanic corrosion have become a commonplace part of our lives, and the two, exhibiting similar symptoms and found everywhere, are often confused for one another. The reality is that there are very real differences between the two. The conditions for their onset are different, the damage they can do is different, and the approach to treating each, is also different. Being able to handle each case effectively starts with being able to identify them. So let’s run through the differences between the two here.

What is Rust?

Rust is essentially a natural coating of iron oxide which accumulates on metals. It is identified by its red-brown colour and flaky texture. If left unchecked, rust can run rampant through your metal surfaces, weakening their integrity significantly, posing possible health-risks (none of us likes tetanus) and creating a major eye-sore.

Where it comes from?

Since rust is essentially iron oxide, it stands to reason that it comes about from a process of oxidisation on metal surfaces. This generally only happens in the presence of consistent damp, such as in coastal climates or in indoor areas where there is plenty of moisture.

How to Treat it

Rust is more easily prevented than it is treated. Generally speaking, metallic surfaces should be given a protective layer of rust proofing paint which protects it against oxidisation; but if the problem has already occurred, sometimes no small amount of elbow grease is enough to bring the surface back into good condition. If left unchecked, however, the damage may be so great as to need replacement.

What is Galvanic Corrosion

Galvanic corrosion, which is often mistaken for rust, is completely different, and I dare say is even more destructive. It isn’t as simple to protect surfaces from corrosion as it is with rust, since corrosion depends on far more than mere oxidisation to spread and grow.

Where it comes from?

Galvanic corrosion is understood better as a process than a symptom. Like rust, it appears on metallic surfaces, although the presence of moisture is not the only culprit in this case. Corrosion occurs when one metal comes into contact with another that. If one or both of the surfaces are electrified, you have the first part of a corrosion equation. All you need to do to complete the mix is add water, and overtime the one metal will result in galvanic corrosion eating away at the other.

How to Treat it

Regularly applying anti-rust paints to the surface will help hold back the effects of corrosion, but in general, your electrical setup will have a lot more to do with its protection. One should also be careful of which metals get used together in the presence of an electrical charge. Correctly insulating dissimilar metals will go a long way in keeping them protected.

Contact Rust Tech for Details

The best way to avoid rust spreading in your home or place of work, is to source the correct protective products from a reliable supplier. Contact a representative from Rust Tech to find out more, or visit our website for details.