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Name: Gabe and Joanna Status: student Grade: 9-12 Location: TN Country: USA Date: Winter 2011-2012

Question:
I am preparing a thesis for my science project. Do different kinds of salts speed up the iron oxidation process at different rates than other salts? If so, what qualities of salt would make conditions best for rusting?

Replies:
The reasons you have not found a lot of information on iron rusting is because it is a very complicated process. Many factors play a role:

1. The chemical identity of the salt, the concentration of salt, concentration of dissolved oxygen, which in turn depends upon the identity of the salt and its concentration.

2. The temperature and time of the exposure. 3. The specific kind of iron. Most industrial "iron" is in fact an alloy, and some alloys are more (or less) resistant to corrosion than others. So "iron" does not adequately describe the metal being tested.

4. The pH of the test solution must be buffered because the corrosion reaction can change the pH which in turn affects the rate of rusting. This is the "short" list. You need a research "plan" to figure if and how well you can control the many variables that may come into play. As you have described the experiment, you may be heading into results that will be difficult to interpret.

Vince Calder


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