Did you know that two out of every three tons of new steel comes from recycled steel and byproducts? And that’s not the only cool fact about steel that might surprise you. The truth is that despite being a very commonly used material — and the most American of all the metals — there are a lot of interesting tidbits to be learned about steel, and especially about galvanizing.
If you’ve been inside a steel structure or seen a steel work of art outdoors, odds are it’s been galvanized to help protect it from the elements and corrosion. Experienced steel suppliers will tell you that galvanization is one of the best tools to protect steel from corrosion, but here are some more facts that might surprise you.
Galvanization Involves Zinc
Galvanized steel is protected because there is a protective zinc coating on it. The zinc functions in two ways after binding to the steel: first, it protects the metal from the atmosphere, and second, it provides cathodic protection.
Galvanization Is Named After a Scientist
Galvanized steel didn’t just appear out of nowhere. The term galvanization is named for Italian scientist Luigi Galvani. It is named such because it refers to any number of electrochemical processes, which happened to be Galvani’s specialty.
Galvanizing has Evolved Over the Years
In current times, galvanization is more of an electro-deposition term than electrochemical. And zinc is the primary material used in the process. In recent years, science has allowed many new advances in the way metal is protected from the elements.
Galvanizing Is Low-Cost
Galvanizing stainless steel is popular because it has a low initial cost and it requires little maintenance throughout its lifetime. In addition, the ease of application is something that’s very appealing to steel suppliers. That’s an incredible value, especially when you consider that corrosion and rust costs the U.S. economy billions of dollars every year.
It’s Used in Cars
You can find galvanized steel just about anywhere that you look. In fact, galvanized sheet steel is often used in to production of cars to improve corrosion resistance. So if your car hasn’t succumbed to rust yet, there’s a good chance that galvanized steel is to thank for its long life!
Whether you’re looking at a piece of art or an industrial setting, galvanization is just about everywhere you look. And, now, you know a little bit more about how the process works and where it’s derived from.