Why can't we turn rust into iron?

How do rust converters work?

Rust converters are chemical mixtures that convert rust into stable iron compounds. They are often used to treat cars, ships, construction machinery and other devices and vehicles.

The rust converter converts rust into water and iron phosphate in a chemical process. In contrast to rust, this iron phosphate is no longer porous and is therefore ready for further processing. To ensure lasting protection, loose rust must be removed before treatment with the rust converter.

Today rust converters mostly consist of phosphoric acid, tannins and surfactants. In addition, they are often mixed with primers and top coats. Fat dissolvers or reaction accelerators can also be part of a rust converter.

How does iron corrode?

Iron reacts with the oxygen in the air. As long as the air is dry and contains little water, this will not cause any damage. Iron (III) oxide is formed, which is still quite stable due to its inertia. Only when moisture occurs does a reaction occur, which causes a combination of iron (III) oxide, iron (II) oxide and water (iron oxide). This connection is also known as rust. As a rule, even a low level of humidity is enough to cause rust to develop. The porous surface of the rusty metal is susceptible to water and thus ensures further reactions, which can lead to increased rust formation.

How does a rust converter work?

The goal of a rust converter is to reverse or stop the rusting process in order to extend the life of machinery, vehicles, fences, appliances, etc. Rusting describes the oxidation process of iron triggered by oxygen.

The iron oxide produced by the oxidation process is particularly brittle and porous. Cars and machines lose their value and safety. With a rust converter, the oxidation process is stopped and, in the best case, reversed. The rust converter separates the rust into non-porous compounds of water and a stable iron compound, the iron-III-oxide. The resulting iron phosphate cannot be compared with the known metallic iron. It is more gray-black and has a matt effect.

Home remedies as rust protection

In principle, any liquids that contain phosphate can be used to protect against rust. For example, cola and lemon juice can also be used as rust converters. However, the effect cannot be compared with special rust converters, as the proportion of phosphoric acid is low.