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Q & A: Mirrors getting rusty

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Do mirrors rust??????
- Kyle H.
Shorecliffs MiddleSchool, San Clemente, Ca.
A:
Some old ones do; the ones in my grandfather's house certainly show some signs of rust. The reflective surfaces on mirrors are made up of different things. Often, mirrors have a layer of aluminum on the back side of a piece of glass -- this won't rust, but even aluminum oxidizes. Some mirrors were "silvered" -- silver tarnishes. A thin layer of tarnish may even produce a rather attractive effect to a reflection, but too much and it gets dim. You might imagine that a little handheld mirror for camping trips so you can shave might just be made out of steel and may need a little polishing now and then.

Sometimes, even if a mirror cannot rust, the screws holding a mirror up will rust, and their rust gets on the glass or otherwise makes the mirror look less than perfect.

Tom

(published on 10/22/2007)

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