The amazing 'rusting' aluminium

See this fascinating time lapsed footage of an aluminium I-beam literally corroding away before your eyes.

The common assumption is that aluminium doesn't 'rust' or is corrosion resistant. However, unlike iron which forms iron oxide (rust) which flakes off to expose fresh metal and then repeats until nothing is left, aluminium forms aluminium oxide.

Aluminium oxide is one of the hardest materials known to man and as it corrodes, aluminium inadvertently forms a protective coating that once formed, drastically reduces corrosion and protects the material from the external environment.

However, mercury is able to infiltrate this coating and essentially allows oxidation to take place continuous by stopping a new oxide layer from forming. The process is likened to the 'rusting' of iron as it causes flakes to form and fall off the material.

The video shows how just a small amount of mercury paste turns an aluminium I-Beam to dust in just a few hours.

Author
Justin Cunningham

This material is protected by MA Business copyright
See Terms and Conditions.
One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not.
For multiple copies contact the sales team.

 

Supporting Information
Do you have any comments about this article?
Rust is iron oxide. The process of rusting is that of iron oxidisation. Rusting has nothing to do with aluminium. The general term for degeneration of metals in this way is corrosion.

Comment peter bessey, 15/08/2013
Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

© MA Business Ltd (a Mark Allen Group Company) 2018