Rust is something that every automotive enthusiast is forced to deal with, even Corvette owners. There are many ways to eliminate rust, but some are expensive and time consuming, and some are relatively easy. We thought that we would briefly talk about an easy way to eliminate rust with rust neutralizers or encapsulators.
What It Is
A rust converter is chemical solution that can be applied directly to a steel surface (frame, suspension part, or sheetmetal), and it converts rust into a protective chemical barrier. The compounds in the converter interact with the molecules in rust, converting them into a black layer that is resistant to moisture, and protects the surface from further corrosion.
Rust converters that are commercially available are water-based, and contain two, primary, active ingredients: Tannic acid and an organic solvent. Tannic acid chemically converts the red-hued iron oxide (rust) into bluish-black ferric tannate. The organic solvent used, is usually a substance such as 2-Butoxyethanol (ethylene glycol monobutyl). This compound acts as a wetting agent, and provides a protective layer. Some rust converters may even contain additional acids designed to speed up the chemical process. A common example is phosphoric acid, which additionally converts some iron oxide into an inert layer of ferric phosphate.
How It Works
The first thing to do before applying any rust converter, is to remove all loose particles of rust and debris with a wire brush or wheel. This is important, because rust converters depend upon a firm layer of rust, not loose flakes being present in order to be effective. When applying the converter, make sure to use proper safety equipment (gloves and glasses), and only use in a well ventilated area. The consistency of most converters is fairly thick, and is easily rolled or brushed on. Sometimes, it can be found in an aerosol can.
When using a converter, completely follow the manufacturer’s recommendations so you receive satisfactory results. While there are instances where cutting and welding are required, using a rust converter in other instances can not only save you time, but a lot of money as well.