Steel Coatings 101: Exploring Different Methods of Metal Protection

galvanized steel If there’s one thing modern society knows well, it’s steel. Steel is, in fact, one of the most recycled materials on Earth! The American Iron and Steel Institute estimates that almost 88% of steel worldwide is recycled.

Considering that we know so much about steel, it only makes sense that we also know how to protect it from the elements. After all, stainless steel is no stronger than any other metal if it succumbs to corrosion. So let’s take a look at some of the most effective methods of metal coating.

Galvanizing
Galvanized steel is considered some of the most corrosion resistant on Earth. In galvanizing, a layer of zinc is bonded to the surface of a piece of steel using a process called “hot-dip” galvanizing. This bonding process essentially makes the zinc coating a part of the steel itself, rendering it extremely resistant to corrosion. It’s no wonder galvanized steel is so popular.

Anodizing
Anodizing is most commonly used on aluminum, but can also be found on metals like titanium and zinc. Unfortunately, anodized coatings can be chipped away by rust, which means they’re a no-go on ferrous metals like steel. But for aluminum, exposure to oxygen forms a layer of aluminum oxide forms on its surface. Anodizing further strengthens this layer of material, adding to its corrosion resistance and durability.

Electroplating
Electroplating, while an effective method of metal coating, is one of the less popular methods. This process makes use of en electric current to attach a solution of chromium and cadmium to a piece of metal. The biggest issue with this method of protection is that it’s particularly difficult to attain a coating of uniform thickness on a piece of metal.

A hefty portion of modern societal infrastructure is made out of steel, which means it’s crucial to have the necessary tools to protect it. Protective measures like galvanizing, anodizing, and electroplating all provide different levels of security for metals like steel and aluminum. While not every method will work on all types of metal, it’s important to have a solid knowledge of each so that the appropriate measures can be taken.