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What makes nails rust?

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What makes nails rust

To understand why nails rust is necessary to start from the metal of which nails are made: Iron.

Iron is a metal that when in contact with water corrodes, and the result of the corrosion process of iron is the formation of Rust.

What is rust? Rust is a generic term to describe a series of different oxides, Fe(OH)2, Fe(OH)3, FeO(OH), Fe2O3.H2O that forms when iron corrodes.

Fe2O3 is a red oxide called Hematite and is reponsible for the typical red color of a rusted object.

Now you would like to know why water makes iron rust?

Water corrodes iron because the oxygen in the air dissolves in water and reacts with iron. There are always two distinct chemical reactions in a corrosion process, the basic chemistry of corrosion is:

1) Anodic Dissolution, oxidation, of Metal (Iron) that goes into solution (water)

Fe  ----->   Fe2+  +   2e-

2) Cathodic Reduction of Oxygen dissolved in water

O2  + 2H2O + 4e- ---->  4OH-  

The final reaction is: 

Fe2+ + 2OH-  ----->  Fe(OH)2

This oxide will then further reacts with oxygen to give the final red product:


corrosion chemistry


Other source of information:

Corrosion Theory and Fundamental

what is rust?

what is corrosion?

what causes rust?

Metal Rust Remover

What is the chemistry of corrosion?

Experiments on Corrosion and Rust:

Corrosion Science School Experiments

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