Galvanized steel is used for a number of applications, including the construction of large sturdy structures and the production of steel strapping for transporting heavy cargo. But what exactly is galvanized steel and why is it so important?
The Galvanizing Process
In order to protect the steel from corroding, a zinc coating is applied to the metal. The zinc acts as an impervious barrier between the base metal (steel) and harmful atmospheric elements such as corrosive chlorides and sulfides.
Step 1: The steel is immersed in a caustic solution in order to remove grease, dirt, and other organic materials. It is then dipped in an acid for the removal of rust, and then into a bath of flux that slows the oxidation of the steel.
Step 2: Once completely clean, the steel is lowered into a kettle of hot molten zinc. The steel and the zinc metallurgically react.
Step 3: The galvanized steel is then inspected and measured.
Benefits of Galvanized Steel
1.Lower cost: Galvanized steel is less expensive than stainless steel.
2. Less maintenance: In comparison to other types of coatings, galvanized is cheapest in the long term because it lasts longer and requires less maintenance.
3. Long lifespan: Galvanized coating is expected to last over 50 years in most rural environments, and up to 25 years in urban and coastal areas.
4. Reliability: Galvanized steel is incredibly strong and reliable. Steel alone is a very durable material. Steel parts are more dent resistant and 30% stronger than they were a decade ago. Steel hinges on refrigerators, for instance, can support more than 140-pounds of weight without sagging. Additionally, due to the protective layer of zinc, the steel is unlikely to rust or wear down.
5. Environmentally friendly: Galvanized steel is considered a sustainable resource. The materials last longer than non-galvanized metals, and steel is actually one of the most recycled materials on Earth. The American Iron and Steel Institute estimates that 88% of the steel in the world is recycled.
6. Application speed: A full protective coating can be applied to a steel structure in just a few hours.
The practice of galvanizing just ensures another layer of protection to the already notoriously strong steel material. Galvanized steel is a material you can rely on, which is why it is so widely used in various industries.