The key difference between rust converter and rust remover is that a rust converter converts the rust on the metal surface to a stable compound, whereas a rust remover separates the rust away from the metal surface.
Rust is iron oxide that forms on metallic objects consisting of iron. Rust can consume and harm these objects; thus, it is important to remove the rust. There are two chemical substances that we can use for this purpose: rust removers and rust converters. The use of a rust converter or a rust remover depends on the metal surface we are going to use the removing material. For example, rust removers are ideal for resurfacing metal and if we need rust-free bare metal as the end result.
What is a Rust Converter?
A rust converter is a chemical solution or a primer that we can apply directly to an iron or iron alloy surface to convert rust in the form of iron oxide into a different chemical component. In this process, rust converts into a protective chemical barrier. The chemical species in the rust converter solution reacts with the iron oxide in the rust, especially iron(III) oxide, by converting it into an adherent layer that appears in black color, which is more resistant to moisture. Moreover, it protects the surface from further corrosion. Sometimes, we call this a rust remover or rust killer.
Generally, a commercially available rust converter is a water-based substance that consists of two primary active ingredients. These two include tannic acid and an organic polymer. Tannic acid can chemically convert the red color iron oxide into bluish-black ferric tannate. Ferric tannate is a more stable material than iron oxide. The active ingredient of organic polymer is usually 2-butoxyethanol which can act as a wetting agent, and it also provides a protective primer layer in conjunction with an organic polymer emulsion.
Moreover, we can apply a rust converter to objects that cannot undergo sandblasting. These objects include vehicles, trailers, fences, iron railings, sheet metal, and the outside of the storage tanks. We can also use it to restore and preserve iron-based items having historical importance.
What is a Rust Remover?
A rust remover is a chemical substance that can be applied to an area with rust to help in banishing rust. It does not involve any chemical process. Usually, oxalic acid is the main ingredient in rust remover. However, prior to the application of the rust remover, it is advised to use a sanding method for surface preparation. The surface preparation is very important, and it is the key to being absolutely sure that any trace of rust left on the surface is removed before the application of a rust-proofing underbody or cavity wax.
The use of rust removers and other products helps speed up the process of the removal of rust from a metal surface. Typically, oxalic acid can interact with iron oxide in the rust to cause it to separate away from the metal surface. Once the rust has disappeared, we get a surface that is suitable for priming and painting.
What is the Difference Between Rust Converter and Rust Remover?
The key difference between rust converter and rust remover is that a rust converter converts the rust on the metal surface to a stable compound, whereas a rust remover separates the rust away from the metal surface. Moreover, a rust converter involves a particular chemical reaction while a rust remover does not.
The below infographic presents the differences between rust converter and rust remover in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Rust Converter vs Rust Remover
Rust is actually a chemical substance that we come across in our day-to-day life. Rusting is usually undesirable because it can harm and consume objects that we use. Therefore, it is important to use rust removers or rust converters to get rid of the rust that forms on metallic objects. The key difference between rust converter and rust remover is that a rust converter converts the rust on the metal surface to a stable compound, whereas a rust remover separates the rust away from the metal surface.
1. Fitzgerald, James. “The Best Rust Removers for Restoring Every Surface.” Popular Mechanics, 3 June 2022.