Rust and Iron - Chemistry Project
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Rust and Iron

Rusty sign
A rusty "Children Playing" sign from Japan

You can easily see that iron rusts and turns red when oxygen touches it. Go look around your backyard or your neighborhood and try to find ten things that are made of iron and have rusted. You might check cars, fences, old toys or tools left in the yard, nails, and street signs. If you're working on this in school, you could bring in photos of these rusty things to make into a poster.

What happens when you rub on the rust? Can you rub it all off and make the iron shiny and black again?

More about Iron
Rust and combustion reactions
How did people first make iron tools? What's the difference between iron and steel?

Bibliography and further reading about atoms:

Iron
Oxygen
Metals
Chemistry
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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