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I'm building something out of weathering steel (A606). It is chemically formulated to rust until it becomes chemically stable and stops rusting. Its composition is: Carbon: 0.22%; Manganese: 1.25%; Sulphur: 0.04% and Copper: 0.2% (minimum).

I want to accelerate the "weathering" process rather than wait for Mother Nature to do it. What chemicals should I use?

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  • $\begingroup$ Now that's tricky. Chemicals might form a subtly different kind of rust which never becomes stable, but just continues until it eats your steel all through. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Jul 12 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ I'd ask the manufacturer. You're surely not their first customer who wants to sell a product in it's final optics. $\endgroup$ – Karl Jul 12 at 17:10
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To accelerate "weathering" , give it more weather - spray it with water each day . You could add a little salt ( NaCl) initially but then let the water spray remove it over time. The steel also has some P in it and a bit of Cr ( like 0.1 % ) . The Mn is also to improve strength as A 606 is "higher" strength steel ( higher than ordinary hot rolled ). It doesn't exactly "stop" rusting ; it builds a somewhat protective layer of rust. In most environments this works well . It does not work on a seacoast or in an industrial environment. Another situation that may be a problem is above concrete or light color stone , as some red rust will slowly run off the steel over the years ( leaving drip marks on the concrete)

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