Rust is the silent killer that can send your truck to an early grave or destroy its resale potential; here are a few tips on how to identify, prevent, and treat rust.
Trucks endure more heavy-duty abuse than any other commercially available vehicle on the road, yet more often than not, it’s a mere chemical reaction that sends these lumbering mechanical beasts to an early grave.
But it isn’t just any chemical reaction that can take down the most durable of heavily, or lightly used trucks alike; it’s what we non scientific-types call rust.
A chemical reaction, you say?
Rust is a general term for the oxidation caused by the electrochemical breakdown of iron-based metals. Rusting occurs when molecules on the surface of an iron-based metal react with oxygen and produce a new molecule called iron oxide.
Iron and steel carry with them the potential to be completely reduced to iron oxide, given enough time or exposure to oxygen. So unless your car is in outer space, rust is something you need to be vigilant with if you intend to own that truck for more than a few years.
How fast does rust eat through these metals?
If untreated, raw sheet metal can rust right though within a handful of years. Pure iron doesn’t oxidise as quickly as modern manufactured metals, where rust makes lunch out of the chemical impurities within metal alloys at a molecular level.
But due to a number of factors, iron isn’t ideal for truck manufacturing and other engineered metal alloys are used in its place. These alloys while more susceptible to rust also provide a number of structural benefits such as their flexibility, tensile strength, and ability to be shaped during the manufacturing process.
How can I identify rust?
In order to identify rust, it’s important to understand the diverse variety of ways rust can manifest itself on a used truck.
Rust is typically broken down into three types; surface rust, scale rust, and penetrating rust.
- Surface rust is an easier fix, as it can be treated topically, and with little effort. It tends to precipitate through surface damage, nicks, scratches and dents.
- Scale rust goes a little deeper, as alloy thickness at varying points, surrounding environment, and temperature all play a role in uneven exposure to oxidising factors. This process inconsistently corrupts the metal surface, while reducing its strength and flexibility.
- After prolonged exposure to oxidising elements, steel becomes brittle iron oxide and penetrating rust holes begin to form.
Rust can be identified quite easily, as a bright red coating to metal is pretty obvious, as are holes. However, often times rust grabs hold of a truck in ways unseen to the eye.
In these cases it is important to be aware of the symptoms of rust; driving over a puddle, when suddenly the carpet on the floor of the cab of your truck is wet –or rippling in truck paint, is often when rust is tucked away under cover.
These hidden forms of rust cause the most problems because they often go untreated until it’s too late, and you’re seeing holes.
How do I treat rust?
Just like a cancer, simply get rid of it. Cut it out, sand it off, sandblast it, or use chemicals.
Mechanical scraping, sanding, or rigorously applying steel wool to rust will shed it off the body of your truck, while chemical baths of phosphoric, sulphuric, hydrochloric, or oxalic acids can all work to remove rust from metal. You can also heat it up with a flame to make it gently powder off like dust.
What about rust prevention?
Rust can be costly to remove and repair, so an ounce of prevention could save your truck, and preserve its value for resale. Keep an eye for any abnormalities in paint, and be sure to get all areas not visible to the eye treated with rust-proofing chemicals, such as the under body and frame of your truck.
We suggest regular rust spot-checks, and annual “rust proofing” to ensure that your truck stays free and clear of rust damage.
Kevlar is a trademarked name for an extremely tough material that acquires its strength from its spider web-like “aramid” weaving.
Kevlar was first created in 1965 for Dupont by Stephanie Kwolek and Herbert Blades, and it is a precarious material; the aramid weaving process will turn a liquid into a solid like magic, and creates fibres which are incredibly difficult to corrode.
These fibres are also resistant to heat and have no melting point. Yet, get a little chlorine on it, and it can degrade. Strange, hmm?
In addition to being extremely resilient for the most part, Kevlar is also quite light, and has rubber-like qualities. These factors lend Kevlar to being a powerful multipurpose product; the lightness and strength of the material makes it ideal for bulletproof vests.
Modifying Kevlar into something else
Modifying it with additional treatments and different weaves can allow it to be used in brake pads, replace Asbestos, and be implemented in other forms of body armour in addition to bulletproof vests. When modified ever so slightly, it becomes another proprietary product called “Nomex”, which is a flame retardant.
The different ‘flavours’ of Kevlar are mostly numbered; the flagship Kevlar mentioned above isn’t, and as mentioned, it’s rubber-like.
However, the other two popular types of Kevlar; Kevlar 29, and Kevlar 49, both subsequently have different properties.
Kevlar 29 emulates a fabric-like quality, whereas Kevlar 49 is extremely firm and strong and can be used to manufacture products which require great strength and tolerate high velocity and shock.
Not bad for being a distant relative of nylon.
Whether you’re being shot at with bullets, or a hurricane is throwing boards through your house like a hot knife through butter –you’ll benefit from using Kevlar fabric over just about any other material required for safety.
Kevlar isn’t completely indestructible, but it’s very near to being so.
It can be pierced, and it can buckle, but only under very specific circumstances. But what super hero doesn’t have their Kryptonite? The reason for this, and the reason it doesn’t replace metal is because it doesn’t compress very well. It breaks under extreme crushing pressure.
But where it lacks in pressure handling, it makes up for by being tensile; almost 8 times as tensile as metal!
Kevlar is different than anything that exists in the natural world, and it, along with that second-cousin Nomex, are poster children for the family of chemicals called aramids, which is short for synthetic aromatic polyamides.
But what the heck is that? Synthetic who in the what now?
Synthetic simply means it was made out of chemicals in a lab, very much unlike say, cotton. Aromatic means Kevlar’s molecules are similar to benzene: they have a ring like structure.
Polyamide means those molecules band together and form long chains. They run inside, around, and parallel to the Kevlar molecules and hold it all together. Sort of like we use steel rods inside cement pillars of a building, or your bones integrate with your body and its muscles and organs.
Lastly, a polymer is made of a whole bunch of monomers; molecules that are all identical, and bond together. Poly. Mono. Get it? No? Think plastic. It’s one of the most common polymers out there, and it’s all around you. It’s probably one of the greatest inventions in the modern era.pet air?