why do metals rust

What is Metal Oxidizing?

Metal oxidation is a process that happens naturally when metal interacts with oxygen in conjunction with moisture and other agents. The metal’s function, durability, and presence can be heavily affected by oxidation. While oxidation and corrosion are similar, oxidation is focused on the exterior of the metal rather than the interior. In this blog post, we will discuss the leading causes of oxidation, the effects that oxidation can have on metal, and ways to prevent this process from happening. 

Main Causes of Metal Oxidation

Two main agents can cause metal oxidation. The first one is oxygen exposure. When a metal interacts with oxygen in the environment, some of the metallic elements in its composition turn into oxides. This means that the metal has formed a thick film over its surface, showing a rusty color. The other main cause of metal oxidation is exposure to moisture. Metal oxide, otherwise known as rust, is formed when it’s exposed to water or humidity. 

What Are The Effects of Metal Oxidation?

There are three prominent effects that metal and steel can have when it’s oxidized. The first one is the metal’s function. The function that the metal provides can be altered. Some examples of this are poor conductivity or having holes that lead to leaks. Another effect is the metal’s durability. As the thick layer of oxide forms, it can weaken the metal and cause problems in infrastructure, for example. Lastly, the presence of the metal is greatly affected. Rust is a bright orange color that can look damaged or dirty. This discoloration can alter the aesthetics of the metal.  

Tips To Prevent Metal Oxidation

There are a few ways to prevent metal oxidation. One method is galvanization. This process is so important because it provides a layer of zinc to protect the metal. Another way to prevent oxidation is to put your metal in proper storage. Keeping metal materials in a cool, dry environment is so curtail to maintaining their health and longevity. Maintenance of the metal is crucial, and you can do this by regularly cleaning your materials. Lastly, protective coatings can provide that extra layer of protection for your metal. We recommend using rubber paint to protect the metal’s chemical structure.

Metal Galvanizing with Markham Metals 

Markham Metals is here to assist you with all your metal galvanizing. Metal oxidation is a natural process; we want you to ensure your metals are maintained and well taken care of. Galvanized steel is a low-cost way to keep your materials looking brand new. To protect your metal, call Markham Metals. Contact us today here today or visit our website to learn more about our galvanized metal and what makes it so unique!

Several steel beams stacked on top of one another are visible on a concrete surface.

A Guide To Popular Metal Uses

Metals are some of the most crucial elements that are used in a variety of applications. If you can name a metal on the periodic table, there’s a good chance that it gets used for some of the most important structures in our lives. From building beams to wiring material, there seems to be no end to the uses that metal can have. With so many different metals, it can be tricky to determine which one works best for your application. We’ve assembled a guide to popular metal uses for some of the most used ones out there!


Copper is one of the oldest used metals in history, and for good reason: it’s one of the most flexible metals out there in terms of where it can be used! It’s most noteworthy for its stellar electrical conductivity and resistance to corrosion. This makes it usable for:

  • Electrical Wiring
  • Plumbing Pipes
  • Roofing
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Spark Plugs


Aluminum is the most abundant metal on Earth, and also one of the most used! It has good heat resistance and tensile strength, which allows it to be used across a variety of industries.

  • Power lines
  • Rails for buildings
  • Household appliances
  • Airplanes
  • Electronics


The reason that you don’t hear as much about iron is because it’s a key ingredient in a lot of the metal alloys we use. It’s how we have metal alloys like carbon steel and stainless steel! It’s unique ability to be used in a lot of alloys makes it useful for a lot of sturdier applications.

  • Beams for high-rise buildings
  • Car parts
  • Electrical equipment
  • Hammers and shovels
  • Some home appliances (Irons, refrigerators, etc.)


Titanium is another popular metal that often gets used in alloys. It’s incredibly strong on it’s own – even as strong as steel! This base strength makes it useful for applications where strength is of the utmost importance.

  • Prosthetics
  • Surgical tools
  • Spacecrafts and aircrafts
  • Watches


Zinc is an important metal due to the fact that it can stop other metals from rusting through galvanization. The most popular use of it is to make galvanized steel, which is useful for a variety of products.

  • Die-castings
  • Household fixtures
  • Other metal alloys

Metalworking Services At Markham Metals

Regardless of what use you have for your metal, Markham Metals has the tools you need to shape your metal for any application. If you can name a metalworking technique, there’s a pretty good chance that we use it! For all of your metalworking needs, contact Markham Metals today for a free quote.