Corrosion vs. Rust – What’s the Difference?

Categories: Corrosion, Decontamination, Industrial & Manufacturing, Data Centers, Wind Turbines & Renewable Energy, Marine & Offshore, Healthcare, Education

Corrosion Rust

Corrosion and rust are often used interchangeably. While corrosion and rust are both a result of oxidation reactions (where an element combines with oxygen), there are differences between the two.

Corrosion impacts a wide range of objects, while rust only impacts iron and its alloys, such as steel. Therefore, rust is a form of corrosion, although it specifically refers to oxidation of metals containing iron.

The chart below details additional differences between corrosion and rust.




Corrosion includes rust.

Rust is a type of corrosion.

Corrosion is the process by which certain materials, metals and non-metals, deteriorate as a result of oxidation.

Rusting is oxidation of iron in the presence of air and moisture.

Corrosion can occur on materials such as ceramics or polymers.

Rusting occurs on surfaces of iron and its alloys.

Corrosion requires surface exposure to air or chemicals.

Rusting requires surface exposure to both air and moisture.

Depending on the material, corrosion can emerge in different colors such as blue and green.

Rust has an orange brown color.


For more information on corrosion and rust, check out our whitepaper, Corrosion – Effects on Metals & Electronic Equipment, Processes & Prevention. You can also sign up for our upcoming webinar on corrosion here.



By: Amir Rubin

Amir Rubin is an electrical engineer with 18 years’ experience performing damage assessment to high-tech electronic, electrical, and mechanical equipment that was impacted as a result of fire, water or other contamination event. As Senior Technical Consultant within Envista Forensics for over 10 years, Mr. Rubin conducted hundreds of accurate and in-depth equipment inspections to determine extent of damage, repair/restoration, and potential cost effective solutions to mitigate business interruption. Mr. Rubin has developed procedures for proper decontamination, testing, and repair, which includes working directly with the equipment owners, their technical representatives, and the manufacturers to successfully resolve equipment loss claims.

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