Metals

How does iron rust?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. All iron needs to rust is water and oxygen. Technically, rust isn't so much a verb as it is a noun. When iron corrodes, the material remaining is rust, also known as iron oxide (Fe2O3). When water hits iron, it mixes with carbon dioxide in the air. This mix creates a weak carbonic acid, an electrolyte that starts to dissolve the iron. The dissolved iron then combines with the oxygen freed from the water. These two compounds combine to create iron oxide, or rust.

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