Rusty nail, SEM

Rusty nail, SEM

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Credit: DR GARY GAUGLER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Rusty nail. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the tip of a rusty metal nail. Rusting is an electrolytic process in which iron reacts with water and oxygen to form a hydrated iron oxide. Rust is more brittle, porous and bulky than iron, so it tends to flake off. It is often thought that being injured by a rusty nail causes tetanus (lockjaw). In fact, the disease is caused when a wound is infected by Clostridium tetani bacteria. This is found in soil, not rust, although rusty metal found outdoors may well have been in contact with infected soil. Magnification unknown.

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Keywords: coloured, corroded, corrosion, lockjaw, nail, oxidated, oxidation, rust, rusting, rusty, scanning electron micrograph, sem, tetanus, tip

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