Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Quinn Weber

Period 3

Science paper

Rust Removal

Introduction-When hand tools, automobiles, or virtually any other metal device is left in the open air, eventually it will corrode and form rust. Rust is caused by the combination of oxygen and iron (4Fe + 3O= 2FeO). Rusty metal is a problem because it often renders the metal useless or just plain ugly. My love of antique (and cheap) cars has brought me face to face with the decimating powers of rust. I have purchased a 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook, which has received no restoration, body-work, or love in the past 4 decades, and as the Alaskan winter provides plenty of moisture for an old car to build rust. This classic car was covered with corrosion. 

By testing different methods of removing rust the most effective method may be discovered. After researching various ways of rust removal many factory produced and homemade remedies were found and four different methods will be tested in this experiment. Basic research not only produced a variety of rust removing methods, it also provided the prices of a variety of rust removers as well of a list of some of the most commonly used products.

 The first method of rust removal involves soaking the rusted metal in Rust-Eze rust remover, a factory produced remover designed for “tuff rust” specifically on the body of automobiles. This method will be used as a control as industrial removers are the most common method of rust eradication.

Now for the homegrown rust removers. Naval jelly is allegedly an effective rust remover, as well as molasses; these two will also be tested. The most unique rust remover found while researching was electrolysis. By applying direct current through the negative electrode to the rusty piece of metal submerged in a solution of water and baking powder, the rust was rumored to fly off of the metal piece to a sacrificial anode attached to the positive electrode.

This experiment will hopefully provide information useful to anyone wishing to remove rust, whether on an abused vehicle or household tools left under a winters-worth of snow. By providing an honest review of the different rust removing techniques I hope to save money and time of those who see the value of the old or forgotten.

Question: Which rust removing method is most effective and monetarily efficient?

Hypothesis: Due to my research, I predict that Rust-Eze will remove the most rust, but that electrolysis will be the most cost efficient way of removing rust.


·      12volt Battery charger

·      1 Gallon Rust-Eze

·      20 inches of re-bar

·      16 oz naval jelly

·      16 oz molasses

·      4- 5 gallon buckets

·      Recording devices (pens)

·      Rusty car parts

·      Data tables

·      10 Tbs. Baking powder

·      Access to tap water


1.     Find a location outdoors yet unexposed to the elements, as many of these products and methods produce harmful or irritating gases.

2.     Number the buckets 1-4

3.     Fill one bucket with Rust-Eze solution

4.     Fill one bucket with molasses

5.     Fill one bucket with 4 gallons tap water

6.     Put 2 tablespoons of baking powder per gallon (8 tablespoons) of water in the bucket of water.

7.     In this same bucket attach the positive clip of the battery charger to the piece of rebar, submerge the rebar in the solution making sure that the clip of the battery charger is out of the solution.

8.     Attach the negative clip to the rusty piece of metal and submerge this piece as well, again being sure that the clip is out of the solution

9.     Fill one bucket with naval jelly

10.  Submerge similar pieces of metal (both in corrosion and size) in each bucket

11.  Turn on the battery charger

12.  4 hours take the metal out of the solutions and record results.

13.  Repeat steps 1-12 4 times