Saltwater Corrosion in Iron

Abstract rust art

Macro-photography of the natural patterns, textures and colours of the corrosion or oxidation products (rust) on a piece of seaside ironwork –  caused by saltwater as the structure is alternately washed by the sea and dried in the air with the rise and fall of each tide.

Abstract rust art

Abstract rust art

Abstract rust art

Abstract rust art

Abstract rust art

Abstract rust art

Abstract rust art

Abstract rust art

Abstract rust art

Old Whiteford Boat Wreck

Remains of a small boat wreck in the sand

I revisit things I have found on the beach to see how they change with time.

I hadn’t walked along Whiteford Sands for quite a while. My last visit was a few months ago – in December, I think. I was surprised at how much the seashore had changed when I went there again a couple of weeks ago in mid-March. There have been some very striking large scale changes as a result of the winter storms (and I will talk about what has been uncovered very soon).

I have photographed the remains of the small wrecked boat at Whiteford many times over the past ten years. Despite the major transformations to the Whiteford Point area over winter, the little wooden boat wreck remained untouched. This time the planking of the upturned hull was mostly covered by dry sand. However, part of the keel or mast-housing was still above ground. The timbers a little more weathered and etched – providing a great place for yellow lichen to flourish. The rusting old ironwork staining the adjacent timbers but the rivets still holding all the pieces together. The wreck looked very picturesque against the pristine wind-blown sand and the cold blue sky.

Remains of a small boat wreck in the sand

Yellow lichen on weathered timber with rusty ironwork on the remains of a small boat wreck

Yellow lichen on weathered timber with rusty ironwork on the remains of a small boat wreck

Yellow lichen on weathered timber with rusty ironwork on the remains of a small boat wreck

Remains of a small boat wreck in the sand

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2013

All Rights Reserved

Limpets on rusty iron

Limpets on rusty iron (1) -  Living limpet (Patella sp.) attached to rusty iron seaside pier.

I like the appearance of rust and I’m always looking out for interesting colours, patterns, and textures in oxidising iron. A good place to look is the metalwork on seaside groynes and piers which are invariably corroded by seawater. I find it amazing that small seaside creatures like limpets settle in these seemingly inhospitable locations where they eek out a living by grazing the microscopic algae that coat the surfaces. In their turn, as the limpets cling on to these man-made objects, the shells become stained by the orange of the rust and the green of the algae so that they blend into the overall constantly evolving design.

Limpets on rusty iron (2) -  Living limpet (Patella sp.) attached to highly coloured, patterned, and textured rusty iron seaside pier.

Limpets on rusty iron (3) -  Living limpet (Patella sp.) attached to highly coloured, patterned, and textured rusty iron seaside pier.

Limpets on rusty iron (4) -  Living limpets (Patella sp.) attached to highly coloured, patterned, and textured rusty iron seaside pier.

Limpets on rusty iron (5) -  Living limpet (Patella sp.) attached to highly coloured, patterned, and textured rusty iron seaside pier.

Limpets on rusty iron (6) - Living limpet (Patella sp.) attached to highly coloured, patterned, and textured rusty iron seaside pier.

Limpets on rusty iron (7) - Living limpet (Patella sp.) attached to highly coloured, patterned, and textured rusty iron seaside pier.

Limpets on rusty iron (8) - Living limpet (Patella sp.) attached to highly coloured, patterned, and textured rusty iron seaside pier.

Limpets on rusty iron (9) - Living limpet (Patella sp.) attached to highly coloured, patterned, and textured rusty iron seaside pier.

Limpets on rusty iron (10) - Living limpet (Patella sp.) attached to highly coloured, patterned, and textured rusty iron seaside pier.

Limpets on rusty iron (11) - Living limpet (Patella sp.) attached to highly coloured, patterned, and textured rusty iron seaside pier.

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2013

All Rights Reserved

Rusty wreck at Ringstead

Rusty iron on Ringstead beach: Detail from a rusty iron ship wreck at Ringstead Bay, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (1)

Colours, textures, abstract patterns – the rusty iron wreck at Ringstead Bay has it all. Fascinating to observe from visit to visit as it shifts, breaks up, changes. These rapidly corroding remains have lain on the shingle beach for years but I have failed in finding out anything about them.

Detail from a rusty iron ship wreck at Ringstead Bay, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (2)

Detail from a rusty iron ship wreck at Ringstead Bay, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (3) 

Texture of rusty iron: Detail from a rusty iron ship wreck at Ringstead Bay, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (4)

The rusting remains of an iron ship wreck at Ringstead Bay, Dorset, UK (part of the Jurassic Coast) (5)

The rusting remains of an iron ship wreck at Ringstead Bay, Dorset, UK (part of the Jurassic Coast) (6) 

 Revision of a post first published 24 October 2009

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2011

All Rights Reserved

Rust patterns at the seaside

Rust colour, pattern and texture: Multi-coloured rust pattern on an ironwork seaside pier (1)

Although man-made iron structures are not themselves natural in the same way as in plants, animals, rocks, fossils and minerals – they are subject to weathering and decomposition processes which are naturally occurring phenomena.

At the seaside, iron constructions like piers are particularly vulnerable to rusting or oxidation because of their exposure to waves and salty sea air. The results of weathering and erosion can be surprisingly colourful with interesting patterns and textures. Most people think of rust as being just orange in colour but, in fact, it can show all the colours of the rainbow. In mineralogy galleries of museums it is possible to see lumps of haematite ore, from which iron is derived, that exhibit an intensely hued iridescence.

Rust colours, patterns and textures: Multi-coloured rust pattern on an ironwork seaside pier (2)

Rust colours, patterns and textures: Multi-coloured rust pattern on an ironwork seaside pier (3)

Rust colours, patterns and textures: Multi-coloured rust pattern on an ironwork seaside pier (4)

Rust colours, patterns and textures: Multi-coloured rust pattern on an ironwork seaside pier (5)

Rust colours, patterns and textures: Multi-coloured rust pattern on an ironwork seaside pier (6)

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2011

All Rights Reserved

Barnacles on rusty iron

Barnacles growing on the rusty iron of a British seaside pier (1)

Barnacles (and a few limpets) growing on the multi-coloured and highly textured surface of rusty ironwork on a British seaside pier. I like the wide range of rust colours from dark blue to light orange and how they are distributed over the surface in a random way resembling a piece of bright abtract art; and the way that the acorn barnacles have become stained and incorporated into the natural design.

Barnacles growing on the rusty iron of a British seaside pier (2)

Rust-stained barnacles: Barnacles growing on the rusty iron of a British seaside pier (3)

Seashore creatures picture: Barnacles growing on the rusty iron of a British seaside pier (4)

Rusty iron with barnacles: Barnacles growing on the rusty iron of a British seaside pier (5)

British barnacles picture: Barnacles growing on the rusty iron of a British seaside pier (6)

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2011

All Rights Reserved