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Steel and Rust

Steel reacts with air, water and salt. This process is called corrosion or rusting. You have probably seen rust develop on tools or bikes that have been left in the rain. Rust can be prevented in two ways:

  • Alloying this means adding other chemicals that can change the steel's properties. Stainless steel contains the elements chromium, nickel and molybdenum to make it rust resistant. Kitchen pots and pans are often made from stainless steel, as well as many kitchen sinks.
  • Coating this means covering the steel in different substances, such as metals like tin, zinc, plastics or paint. Steel cans often have a thin coating of tin, to protect the food inside and prevent rust on the outside.

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