Manuel Erhard

new dimensions of time

how can i develop a new materialized unit of (measuring) time?

idea I: corrosion – rusting metal

goal: creating a ‚rust clock’ that shows the process of corrosion over the course of time

first basic approach: waterdrops drip in consistent intervals on a metal plate, which slowly starts rusting


idea II: melting – frozen water

goal: creating a new unit of time in the form of melting ice

first basic approach: blocks of ice become a standardized new scale of time by how long it takes them to melt completely

idea III: objectify time

goal: objectify time

first basic approach: a candle that gutters on a board or into water and creates different forms or formations over time


UPDATE: Corrosion as a natural process over time

NOTE: due to timing issues, i was only able to upload one minutes sketches for today. Tomorrow I will update with better & scanned ones asap.


Although there have been developed multiple types of protection against corrosion like different alloys, there’s still no absolute prevention for rust. According to estimates, five tons of steel are lost per second worldwide due to corrosion.

Since this statistic is not really helpful to get an understanding of the process and overall hard to put into relation, i want to discover and visualize this over the course of time myself.


The most basic components of corrosion are steel, oxygen and water.

My setup consists of three 10cm by 10cm steel plates and parts of a infusion set that drips water onto the plates in different intervalls.

To get an indication of how much water to put on the plates, i took the average amount of rainfall per square meter per year in the bavarian area and counted it down to the size of the steel plates.

rainfall in bavaria:

915 liters/m2 per year

25 liters/m2 per day

25 milliliters/100cm2 per day

1 milliliter = ±20 drops of water

So it comes down to 1 drop every 3 minutes to simulate roughly the conditions of a sheet steel placed outdoors in the bavarian area. Also to get a comparison I’ll double and halve the intervals of the other two plates.


With the experiment I hope to get a better understanding of the rusting process over time. To keep it basic and natural, I don’t want to fasten or slow it down by adding anything to the water. I’m also curious to see if there will be any difference in the appearance or form of the rust stains throughout the plates.


  1. The first idea sounds greate maybe there is some kind of scale on top of the plate that gives you a bit of an relation to the past by time .

    1. May check with Chris if there are other liquid which speeds up the processes of rusting a bit to get faster results.

  2. I like the first idea the most. The third would be also nice to see how it turns out, especially with letting it guttering into water.

  3. Somehow the first idea resonates with me as well. Maybe that is because I find the results hard to predict. But then again… I THINK I have an idea of how ice and wax would behave but maybe your experiment would prove me wrong. The illustrations are great, maybe you want to write a bit more to make your ideas clearer.

  4. I like the first idea the most. Maybe you can prepare e.g. 5 rusting stations where the water drops in each case in different intervals? The comparison might be interesting.

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