Corrosion 101

What is corrosion?
Rust (oxidation) which leads to corrosion if left untreated, is caused by the chemical combination of oxygen and certain metals, such as iron over a period of time creating Iron Oxide (Fe2O3).

How does the process occur?
Corrosion can occur in any environment where humidity is present; As little as 65 percent relative humidity can be enough to foster oxidation. In order for Oxidation to occur, there must be three components present:

  • Anode: The primary piece of metal which loses its electrons to the cathode and becomes oxidized.
  • Cathode: Any piece of metal which receives the electrons from the anode, usually the same piece of metal as the anode.
  • Electrolyte: Water, or rather condensed humidity present in the air. And the highway for the released electrons.

When a drop of water (Electrolyte, with dissolved oxygen in it) comes into contact with an iron object, two things begin to happen almost immediately.

  • First the electrolyte combines with carbon dioxide in the air to form a weak acid.
  • Secondly, as the acid is formed and the iron dissolved, some of the water will begin to break down into its component pieces, hydrogen and oxygen. The free oxygen and dissolved iron bond into iron oxide, in the process freeing electrons and creating rust (oxidation).
  • Third, the electrons liberated from the anode portion of the iron flow to the cathode, which may be a piece of a metal less electrically reactive than iron, or another point on the piece of iron itself.

How can you protect against oxidation
GoldenRod Dehumidifiers fight corrosion by nullifying the third necessary component, Humidity. GoldenRod Dehumidifiers create convection currents, heating the internal air of the enclosure, bathing enclosed metals in warm air. This not only warms the surface of the metals, not allowing humidity to condense on cold metal; But also does not allow ambient air to ever reach its dew point (the temperature at which water condenses).

Other steps to protect
For any metal, the proper procedure is to clean it after each use. Since the sweat (salt) and oils that come with usage, could cause rust to develop, wiping down metals after each use is a great way to reduce the amount of moisture that gathers on your metals.

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