Many people ask about how metals react in weather of all types. Whether it is rain, snow, or even having metals in different conditions like being underground. With so many different uses for metals and areas that they can be in it is tough to guess how they will react in weather so we wanted to go over a few today.
Copper is an alloy that will turn green when it is exposed to oxygen and moisture for a long time. Sometimes this green color will affect the price of the copper, often if you have bare bright copper wire that has become oxidized your prices will most likely be more like a clean tubing price. The thin green color that forms on copper is called a patina and could be grinded off of the copper to help increase the value but it is often very hard to do and extremely time consuming.
How metals react in weather especially holds true for iron and steel. Even thought steel is one of the most commonly used metals in the world you will often see steel rusting and that is why bridges and roadways have limited lifespans. Any item that has any type of iron mixed in it will be able to oxidize and rust at a certain level. As soon as steel is exposed to air and moisture it will begin to rust and the lifespan will begin to decrease at that time. When steel is recycled for scrap metal purposes and goes back to mills to be remelted the rust will not matter anymore and any contaminants that are on the steel will be taken out until they are expose to air and moisture again.
Metals react in weather of any type…and it is chemists job to try to figure out how to slow that process down. Zinc is a metal that is often coated on top of steel which is called galvanizing the steel, or “Galvanized Steel.” This process will help to slow down the rust as the zinc acts as an additional barrier to the air and moisture getting to the steel/iron.
Brass is a metal that is generally associated with plumbing and that means that water will be involved heavily. Brass has a very high zinc content, and like galvanized iron, the zinc will help tremendously in slowing down the rusting process. Brass is made up of copper and zinc primarily, so you may see the initial yellow color of brass have a slight green patina similar to copper.
There are certain paints, like Rustoleoum paints, that you can coat over all types of steel, aluminum, iron, and other metals that will help to prevent the oxidation and exposure of the metal to moisture. These will always help….but not stop, the corroding process.
Hope this gives you a much better idea on how metals react in weather of all different types. Any other questions please let us know!