Can You Recycle Rusted Metal?

Last updated on January 5, 2023

You can recycle rusted metal but it’s a good idea to remove as much rust from the metal as possible. Here’s how.

Iron ore reserves are being depleted, but the demand for metal goods remains consistently high. The problem of replenishing raw materials to produce cars, pipes, metal structures can be solved in one way. This method is the recycling of scrap metal.

Scrap recycling is a necessary and environmentally friendly process that allows you to eliminate metal products that have become unusable. The recycled material goes through several long stages before turning into secondary raw materials. Only after that will it be able to serve for the benefit of people once again.

If you find a large amount of rusty metal in your garage or on the site, then know that it can and should be disposed of. Rust begins to appear when the metal meets air, oxygen, water, oxidants, or acids. If there is contact of iron with the external stimuli in the presence of salt (saltwater), then corrosion destroys it much faster due to the onset of electrochemical reactions.

Rust affects iron over its entire surface. However, the most vulnerable are internal and external components of products, welds, and threaded connections. The structure of rusty iron is characterized by a significant degree of looseness. Rust does not have any adhesion to metal. Because the surface of highly porous corrosion freely retains atmospheric moisture, optimal conditions are created for further destruction of iron.

Usually, the color of rust is red-brown, brown, which does not allow to assess the condition of iron under a layer of corrosion. Under rust, the metal can be destroyed.

The scrap metal reception center assesses the condition of metal products. The less rust on them, the more valuable such metal is. Therefore, before carrying your metal, it should be cleaned of rust.

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How to Remove Rust?

remove rust

Ways to remove rust are divided into the following:

Mechanical Removal

Here, eliminating the oxide layer is carried out utilizing rigid metal brushes, sandpaper, etc. The choice of a particular method of machining depends on the type of iron surface. So for coils of steel wire, rewinding from one carrier to another is used. In this case, when bending, rust is separated from the metal surface.

Chemical Removal

The process is carried out due to exposure to them by unique means that dissolve rust when applied to the metal surface. Most homemakers use such methods for chemical cleaning of metal at home, using non-aggressive substances such as lemon, vinegar, soda, etc. These substances dissolve rust well enough, which is then easily removed by rags.

It should be borne in mind that the effectiveness of the above methods is different. The iron surface can be effectively treated with a steel brush, sandpaper with coarse-grained paper, and an angle grinder with an appropriate nozzle. We use it when the rusted spot is small. However, if it is found that rust has captured large surfaces, then chemical methods will be optimal.

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How to Perform Mechanical Removal of Rust on Big Pieces?

To dispose of large parts in size or weight that are difficult to lift and load into the machine, it is necessary to cut them into smaller pieces. It will also make it more convenient to clean the internal cavities by opening good access to them.

It requires the use of metal cutting devices, for example, a plasma cutting machine. To date, plasma cutting is the most effective way of cutting metal, having several features that make it a leader in metalworking.

Plasma cutting requires electricity and air, and nozzles and electrodes are used as consumables, so this type is one of the most economical and environmentally friendly methods. To choose the best option for this industrial process, we suggest you a nice list of plasma cutters with compressor.

Usually, metal processing for rust removal is carried out by combined methods, in which various techniques are applied one after another until pure metal without rust is obtained.

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