If left untreated, rust not only detracts from the appearance of metal surfaces but actually weakens the bonds of the metal itself. It can render structures unsafe and machinery unusable. So it's absolutely critical to remove rust from metal and protect it to inhibit or prevent the recurrence of rust.

Awareness is the first step in the battle against rust. You need to know how rust works.

The inescapable fact is that metals are unstable in most environments. The moisture and oxygen that allow life is a poisonous environment for metals. The temperatures and moisture levels that occur in everyday life is enough to cause metal to rust.

To get usable metal out of ore requires the application of considerable amounts of energy that change the chemical structure of the metal. Once the metal is pure enough to be tooled, it is at a state where, in simple terms, it wants to return to a lower energy state by combining chemically with other elements. This is most commonly oxygen.

When metal molecules come into contact with water molecules, they give up electrons, becoming positively charged in the process, creating an electro-chemical reaction that leads to the creation of an oxide. This "battery-effect" charges any corroded spot so that it is ready to interact with other molecules, which is why rust spreads if it's not actively contained.

Rust can be confined to a single spot or spots, causing pitting, or along a crack or over a wide area. Any area of rust, even a single pit, provides the seed point for further corrosion, with the chemical interaction spreading wider.

Though the rusting of steel is the best known example, this happens in all metals, even ones such as aluminium, where the effects of corrosion is perhaps not as clearly visible.

Factors such as the acidity or alkalinity of the environment affect the ease with which rust develops, as does

  • high temperature,
  • temperature variation,
  • friction between surfaces,
  • internal stresses in the metal, and
  • even the action of biological organisms such as anaerobic bacteria.

Rust can best be controlled by thoroughly cleaning surfaces, removing all vestiges of the rust (for instance by abrasive blasting) and then applying a suitable protective coating.

For a gentler clean on your equipment try our Sodablasting Service Sodablasting is safe, environmentally friendly and
  • Cleans steel, metal, fibreglass and concrete surfaces
  • Strips paint from vehicles, boat hulls & masonry
  • Effective and non toxic on food processing equipment
  • Tough on graffiti & contaminates in the industrial sector
  • Is a non destructive cleaning and stripping process


"Tauranga Sandblasting's team constantly delivers high quality work carried out Safely and on time for the last ten years."

Gull New Zealand Limited

"For the last 7 years we have used Tauranga Sandblasting to blast and re-paint onsite structural steel, refrigeration pipe work and ancillary equipment. Where it is possible, any equipment is relocated to their enclosed and environmentally protected processing facility.

Tauranga Sandblasting have always carried out any work in a professional manner, with due concerns for any environmental, operational and compliance issues before they arise. In conjunction with a paint supplier's specification, we have utilised their experience in recommending  and applying paint systems for long term applications in our harsh environment.

To date, all work done is performing to specification which reflects Tauranga Sandblasting's attention to suitability, preparation and application of paint systems."

Peter B. Martin - Sanford Limited, Tauranga