CHARLES D. WINTERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHARLES D. WINTERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Steel. Corroding steel bar surrounded by freshly- cut strips of steel. The exterior of the bar has red patches of rust forming, whilst the strips are uncorroded. Steel is an alloy of iron with a small percentage of carbon and other elements. The iron in the steel reacts with oxygen when water is present to form rust (hydrated iron oxide). Rust is bulkier, weaker and more brittle than the steel. It is also porous, allowing more oxygen and water to attack the underlying metal. Steel becomes resistant to rust if chromium, nickel and other elements are included in the alloy.
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