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Why is my ferro rod corroding and can I stop it?

Discussion in 'General EDC Discussion' started by xbanker, May 23, 2012.

  1. SAKplumber
    • In Omnia Paratus

    SAKplumber EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Were you having corrosion before?
     
  2. evolutionglitch
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    evolutionglitch Loaded Pockets

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    electricity is your culprit... salt water (sweat) lets electricity flow more freely, greatly increasing corrosion. you could get a sacrificial anode for your ferro rod. :p or you could just coat it in chap stick.
     
  3. tower
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    tower Loaded Pockets

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    I'll just throw this in as anecdotal info. I live by the Pacific, so there is always ambient moist, salt air here. I have had several ferrocerium and mishmetal rods for some years now. My free spares are kept, BY THEMSELVES, in a Keep2Go tube vault. Some, but not all of the exposed ones have enclosures like the Nano and Nano XL. I also have the ESEE, and the Firesteel Gobspark Armageddon. To the best of my knowledge and recollection, none of these rods has been immersed or soaked. Not one of my many rods has shown any pitting, greying or pulverizing.
     
    Last edited by tower, May 26, 2012
  4. bigfoot

    bigfoot Loaded Pockets

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    No, just the expected oxidization of the used area of the rod(s). But I see it as a good preventative measure, especially for something usually stored in kits.
     
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  5. xbanker
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    xbanker Geriatric Admin
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    Hoping to get authoritative input on the topic, I emailed Ron, the proprietor of firesteel.com. His response (posted with his consent):

    Yes, I've seen this type of discussion come up from time to time on the Internet, and have to say there is some interesting mis-info out there.

    The phenomena they are seeing is rusting of the rods. Because the rust looks a little different than the rust of iron, it may be confusing them as to what it is.

    I've written an article similar to the subject being discussed on the EDC forum. It is based upon iron firesteels but does equally apply to the rods your members are talking about:


    Essentially, what is happening is that a firesteel rod must have the ability to rust, as rusting is the oxidation process which causes the sparks when you scrape or strike it.

    Rusting releases heat, so that if you can get a very small object to rust fast enough, the heat given off can cause the object to glow very hot - this is the spark you use to start a fire.

    The metals in a firesteel rod do include iron, but more importantly also have rare earths that are even more prone to spontaneous oxidation than iron when they come in contact with oxygen in the air.

    Just like iron, modern firesteels may rust more quickly if exposed long term to moisture, water or salts (including body salts) so it pays to make sure they are stored dry.

    What I like to do is wipe down my firesteel rod with any kind of grease or oil from time to time. For example, I carry a small bottle of olive oil when I am in the forest, which I use for cooking. A thin coating of this oil will keep the rod from exposure to moisture in the air or from rain etc that might soak my backpack. Just as you might do with your knife or other gear that can rust.

    For long term storage, as you might do for a bugout bag or preparedness cache, you could apply rustoleum or other commercial metal protector.

    Hope this helps you and your forum members, Dan. Enjoy the day and all the best to you and yours,

    Edit: Don't know where my manners were when I posted this [​IMG]. Thank you Ron for taking the time to reply with the great info! Much appreciated.​
     
    Last edited by xbanker, May 28, 2012
  6. nuphoria

    nuphoria Loaded Pockets

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    That was cool :)
     
  7. Kilted1

    Kilted1 Loaded Pockets

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    So in other words, the rods are working exactly as intended, only very slooooooooowly and not necessarily when you wanted them to.

    (Also I'm amused as hell that it turns out to be an exothermic oxidation reaction after all!):rofl:
     
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  8. nuphoria

    nuphoria Loaded Pockets

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    Indeed - who knew chemistry had such an ironic sense of humour?!
     
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  9. strongblackcoffee

    strongblackcoffee Loaded Pockets

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    But this will end many discussions on the Internet! Quickly, delete the post so we can fill pages and pages with opinions ;)

    Thanks for the info, which, thinking about it, is so obvious, I really experienced a d'oh moment :D
     
  10. Pseudonym

    Pseudonym Loaded Pockets

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    Would forcing a patina work? Or is it a wives tale that patina prevents corrosion and rust?
     
  11. tower
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    tower Loaded Pockets

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    Great info, Xb!
     
  12. Kripto

    Kripto Evil Sid

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    I have and love my firesteel.com rods and I think the way he makes them lends particularly well to preservation of the rod. I also think there might be some Galvanic Corrosion going on (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_corrosion) If the aluminum is very close to the steel/iron rod and there is some saline moisture in there, you could see that I guess.

    Oddly enough, I live on the west coast near the ocean and I've never seen one of my firesteels corrode like that.
     
  13. chmsam

    chmsam Loaded Pockets

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    As has been said before, "ferro" means iron so they will rust or corrode unless treated. Any metal that will make a spark will be more susceptible to corrosion.

    Get a Sentry Solutions Tuf=Cloth and wipe 'em down about every 6 months or so. The cloth will seem dry but it isn't -- its use should not interfere with the operation of the rod. They work great. Every year or so add a couple of drops of Tuf-Glide to the cloth to renew the protectant.

    The Tuf-Cloth is good for guns, knives, etc.

    If you're around water you should use the Marine Tuf-Cloth instead.

    Corrosion can also sometimes be caused by having two dissimilar metals in contact. Boats use sacrificial zinc to allow that cheaper and easier to replace metal take the brunt of the effects of water corrosion.