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What Is Galvanizing And Why Is It important

09/16/2013 @ 5:18am

The process of Galvanizing consists of applying a protective zinc coating over metal, like steel or iron. This prevents corrosion and rusting and maintains the appearance of the metal. The most commonly used methods for producing galvanized metal are hot dip galvanization and cold Galvanizing.

During hot dip galvanization, the metal to be treated is immersed in molten hot zinc, and the zinc forms a permanent, protective barrier over the metal. The process of cold Galvanizing gets the same outcome, by painting a layer of zinc rich paint onto the metal. Rather than the metal being exposed to the elements, the zinc in the paint reacts with air and water instead. of the steel beneath it.  Both hot dip galvanization and cold Galvanizing are types of cathodic protection – the use of zinc being applied to the steel surface to shield it from water and air.

Rust cannot get underneath the protective zinc layer, and even if the object is scratched, the surrounding zinc layer and build-up of zinc corrosion will protect the object. Galvanizing metal also allows the structure to take more heat and stress than non-treated metal.

While both hot and cold methods are very effective forms of protection, they both eventually degrade in a similar way – a white-grey powder will form on the surface as the zinc layer breaks down. However re-treatment is a quick and simple process. Old galvanized metal can easily be repaired and restored with a light abrasion of the surface. This will remove rust and zinc corrosion and result in a smooth surface.

The amount of zinc in the protective layer is very important for galvanized metal. If an inferior product is used that contains little zinc, there will be no cathodic protection and the metal will be exposed to the elements, resulting in corrosion and loss of functionality. High levels of zinc concentration will increase the lifespan of the equipment, so it is important to find a formula that contains over 90% zinc.

Marine and salty environments contribute to corrosion, so metal protection is very important in coastal areas. Most major Australian cities are build around the coastline, so Australians spend a lot of time and effort preventing corrosion. If there is salt on the road in cold environments, it can damage steel car frames. While corrosion is inevitable, galvanized metal will continue to be effective and last a long time if properly maintained.

Galvanizing is mainly used in industrial settings to protect metal structures, but it can also be used in the home particularly when working with outdoor furniture. Not only does it protect the metal, it gives a smooth, attractive finish. Galvanized metal is also found in steel frame houses, on the roof, in cars and boats.

Galvanization is an excellent method for protecting metal and there are relatively few disadvantages to using this method.

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