What is the best rust accelerator for your projects?
Rust accelerator, although paradoxical at first glance, is a chemical designed to speed up the process of rust formation on ferrous metals, such as iron and steel. Contrary to common intuition, the use of this accelerator is not intended to degrade the metal, but on the contrary to protect it by promoting the formation of a protective layer of rust, known as patina. This patina acts as a natural barrier against future corrosion while giving the metal a rustic, aged appearance that is popular in various fields, including art, architecture, design and even industry. This introduction will explore in detail the role of rust accelerator, its benefits and applications, while demystifying this seemingly paradoxical practice.
How does rust acceleration compare to other metal aging methods?
Rust acceleration, also known as corrosion, is an aging process specific to ferrous metals, such as iron and steel, in the presence of oxygen and moisture. This corrosion process is characterized by the formation of oxide layers on the surface of the metal, which gradually weakens its structure. The acceleration of rust is influenced by factors such as temperature, humidity, metal quality and the presence of air pollutants.
Compared to other metal aging methods, rust acceleration is often more rapid and uncontrollable. Unlike patina which can give a desired aged appearance to certain metals like copper, rust is generally considered harmful because it reduces the durability and strength of ferrous metals. Other methods of aging, such as deterioration due to mechanical stress, fatigue, galvanic corrosion, or exposure to specific chemicals, can also alter the structure of metals, but are often more predictable and controllable. Artificial aging methods, such as accelerated laboratory simulation, allow these processes to be reproduced in a controlled manner to assess the durability and strength of metals under specific conditions. In short, rust acceleration is notable for its rapidity and unavoidable nature, making it a constant challenge for the preservation of ferrous metals.
Why use a rust accelerator on oxidizable metals?
The use of a rust accelerator on oxidizable metals, like Corten steel, is a crucial step to obtain the characteristic patina of rust in a controlled and aesthetic manner. First of all, it is essential to prepare the surface properly by degreasing it, sanding it if necessary, and leaving it completely dry. This preparation guarantees optimal adhesion of the accelerator.
The rust accelerator is then applied using a roller evenly on the surface of the metal. It is important to ensure that no drips remain, as this could indicate poor surface preparation. After about 30 minutes, the surface begins to develop a bluish tint, indicating the start of oxidation. If some areas are not blue, this means that the accelerator has not been adequately applied to those areas, and a new coat may be necessary.
During the next two hours it is possible to add a new layer of accelerator or water if necessary, since humidity and a temperature above 15°C favor the oxidation process of the steel Corten. It is important to note that this product is acid-free and only oxidizes the surface of the metal, not spreading deep, and it does not require the application of a stabilizer to stop corrosion.
Corrosion of the surface will continue for approximately two weeks, and the orange tint of the rust will gradually darken to the characteristic rust tint which will no longer change. To avoid drips on the floor, it is possible to apply a varnish as an option. In case of permanent contact with humidity, it is imperative to use a varnish to prevent the decomposition of Corten steel.
Regarding the application conditions, it is recommended to use the rust accelerator at temperatures between 12°C and 28°C for optimal action. The average yield of accelerator and degreaser is approximately 20 to 22 square meters per liter, while that of varnish is approximately 10 square meters per liter. Drying time for accelerator is approximately 30 minutes, while that of varnish is 6 hours, with a recommendation to generally wait 9 hours before applying a second coat, especially for outdoor use. By following these steps and recommendations, you will be able to obtain a beautiful rusty finish on your oxidizable metals in a controlled and lasting manner.
What are the strengths of using rust accelerator compared to other methods?
Using a rust accelerator for any type of oxidizable metal has a significant advantage, despite its apparent counter-intuitiveness. This method allows a protective layer of rust, known as patina, to quickly form on the surface of the metal. This patina plays an essential role in preserving the metal by protecting it against further corrosion. Contrary to the preconceived notion that rust is bad, this accelerated approach to patina formation proves valuable for projects that require effective corrosion protection. It also offers a unique aesthetic appearance, especially for metal objects and structures that seek to obtain a rustic and resistant look. Thus, the use of rust accelerator represents an effective and versatile method for extending the life of oxidizable metals while preserving their appearance.