April 09, 2024

Rust 01

Photographer: Rebecca Roush   
Summary Author: Rebecca Roush   

Shown above is a rusty old vehicle in Seattle, Washington. Iron oxide (Fe2 O3), more commonly known as rust, is a type of corrosion. The etymology of the word “corrosion” is to gnaw to bits or to wear away. Rust is a chemical change that modifies the makeup of the metal it’s affecting. It's not considered a physical change because it doesn’t impact the metal’s state or shape. However, it does affect how metal looks, and it weakens it over time. Note that precious metals don't rust. 

When metal rusts, it means that it's been exposed to water and oxygen. The term for this reaction is oxidation. But even metals like iron and steel won't rust if left in an absolutely dry environment. Rust is also an example of a redox reaction. Click here to see a video of this reaction.

This old vehicle provides an excellent opportunity to observe rust occurring in a humid climate. Photo taken on January 7, 2024.

Seattle, Washington Coordinates: 47.6076, -122.3424

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