Rusting:  Rust Not!


Once it was shiny and new. But something happened. With time and the elements of water and air, the object became covered with orange-brown grains. This is evidence of the rusting process. Rusting is a chemical reaction because iron, interacting with oxygen and water, produces new elements -- iron oxides. Written as a chemical equation it looks like this:

4Fe (iron) + 3O2 (oxygen) = 2Fe2O3 (iron oxide or rust) + heat

Water is necessary for rusting to occur because an oxidation reaction involves the loss of electrons from an element (here, iron) which travel through water. Salt increases the rate at which electrons are carried through the water. Anything which protects the iron metal from exposure to oxygen and water will decrease the chances and rate of the rusting reaction.


What solutions result in the rusting of nails? Is there a difference in the reaction of galvanized and non-galvanized nails? How long does it take for a nail to rust? 

Galvinized & non-galvinized nails, small containers or petri dishes, water, magnifying glass

As a starting point for investigation, pair up petri dishes (or other small containers), placing a galvinized nail in one and a non-galvinized nail in the other. Completely cover the nails with water. Observe the nails and water daily for any changes. Record the length of time before rust appears. Observe the rust with a magnifying glass. Where can you find examples of rusted items in the environment.  Observe them with the magnifying glass as well.  Are there any differences in the appearance of the rust?

Do different substances cause nails to rust more or less quickly?  [e.g. rubbing alcohol, liquid detergent, vegetable oil, vinegar, salt solution, lemon juice, 7-up, glass cleaner, salt water etc.]
Does running the experiment in a very warm or very cold place affect the results?


Read Ephesians 6:10-17 which talks about the armor that God provides for our protection against evil. Discover what each part of the armor represents. Also, read Psalm 18: 1-6, 16-24. Find some similarities between the two passages.

1. Where do you usually turn for strength?
2. What enemies or evil are you facing today?
3. What can you specifically do to increase your protective spiritual armor?


Make a decorative winter tree. Using metal paint (available in craft stores), paint a large tin can that is clean and had its top removed. Find a leafless small branch that has an interesting branching pattern. Hold it upright with its base in the can and fill the can with small pebbles or rocks. You may choose to hang small ornaments or paper cutouts from your miniature tree. Trees in winter often go dormant, a protection against the winter cold. A substance is produced within the branches that acts like an antifreeze. Painting the can with metal paint protects it from rust caused by moisture.

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