We’ve all heard the term before, but what exactly is this process? Galvanization is simply the coating of steel (or iron) with a molten zinc covering. This zinc bonds with the steel and protects the underlying material from corrosion – especially rusting – and from light mechanical damages. Galvanization offers some tremendous benefits in the short term and over extended periods –we’ve assembled a quick rundown below:
Low Cost – Both Initially and Over Time
Iron-based products and alloys essentially require protective treatments of some sort, due to their susceptibility to oxidation. Galvanization is a factory process, and one that’s cheaper than most of the other coating options (especially labor-intensive ones, like the application of protective paints). Low upkeep requirements and a long effective life make it cost-effective in the long term as well – especially in remote areas where the cost of providing maintenance is considerably higher.
The zinc coating doesn’t just stick to the exterior of steel or iron – it actually bonds with it, creating a secure and complete protection that penetrates below the surface level. Not only does this protect the vulnerable ferrous material from the rust-inducing elements, it offers an additional layer of metal that rust must work through in the event of any contamination.
Zinc’s electronegativity is greater than that of iron, making it an anode that will corrode in preference to the underlying metal. Essentially, this means that even if the outward zinc layer on galvanized material is chipped or otherwise damaged, the remaining material will still protect the exposed iron/steel by attracting corrosion to itself.
Ease of Inspection
Though the galvanization process is effectual and long-lasting, any coating will inevitably require some maintenance. Fortunately, this process is easy – galvanization produces a characteristic spangle, and a simple visual inspection is very effective in identifying damage to the coating (if it looks intact, it is intact).
Contact Madison Steel today for more information on steel products, or to place an order.