The most effective way to combat the effects of corrosion on materials is to understand the causes of corrosion and how they work to create rust on surfaces. There are many different factors that can come into play in the process of corrosion. Obviously, the most common type of corrosion is the formation of rust, or Iron Oxide, on the surface of metals containing iron when they come into contact with Oxygen.
Corrosion can also occur with metals such as steel are placed under too much stress and the material begins to crack. Hydrogen exposure can also cause metal to corrode in much the same way that Oxygen does. Metals that are exposed to electrical currents can begin to experience electronic corrosion. Metals which are exposed to dirt and bacteria can also begin to show signs of corrosion.
Because there are so many different causes for corrosion of materials, it is important to understand that not every type of rust inhibitor will work for every situation. A vapor or water barrier material will obviously not protect a metal from exposure to continued electric currents or bacteria. A rubber coating, designed to shield metals from electro corrosion will obviously not keep out Oxygen unless the material is sealed entirely around the metal part inside.
Once you understand the types of corrosion and what causes them, you are in a better position to begin trying to make material corrosion resistant. If you are trying to protect moving parts, you will want to use something that is light and can be easily and inexpensively re-applied frequently. You want your resistance coating to be thin enough to allow proper movement, without being waxy.
If you are trying to prevent rusting on a railing or something stationary, there are many rust inhibiting paints in the market which will add beauty to your home while protecting the metal of your railings. Believe it or not, some plastics are susceptible to corrosion and rusting as well. Therefore, do not be afraid to use paint on plastics to offer a layer of corrosion protection.
Protecting your assets is important, and knowing the causes of corrosion and how to limit or prevent exposure to these causes is an important way to protect them.