4
$\begingroup$

I had an interesting event occur recently: I stuck a screwdriver in a potted plant, for it is the only way that I am able to unlock a certain door. It was left in there for about a month before I needed it again, and, when I took it out, it had what I thought to be rust. I am doubting my original assumption.

I know for a fact that it is not dirt itself, as I vigorously attempted to clean it with suds (though I'm not entirely sure whether or not that was the best approach...).

Question

Does iron a) oxidize in dirt and b) if a), does it oxidize faster in dirt?

$\endgroup$
4
  • $\begingroup$ Was the dirt wet or moist? $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Dec 11, 2014 at 6:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Michael I'm not entirely sure, though I'd assume moist, for I did water the plant a bit. $\endgroup$ Dec 11, 2014 at 12:01
  • $\begingroup$ Moisture greatly increases the rate of corrosion. See theo's answer. $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Dec 11, 2014 at 12:03
  • $\begingroup$ What is "dirt" ? $\endgroup$ Aug 4, 2021 at 16:10

1 Answer 1

6
$\begingroup$

Iron can corrode faster in soil than in air, particularly if partly immersed in the soil. Moisture and electrolyte are retained in the soil, making it a good anode. Also, microbes in the soil can accelerate corrosion.

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ Unless it is under cathodic protection like a pipeline. $\endgroup$ Aug 4, 2021 at 16:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.