About Hot-Dip Galvanizing
Hot-Dip Galvanization protects milled steel from corrosion, so it is a vital process to many industries. Galvanized still is afar superior product to raw, unfinished steel, and the process is sent through a chemical bath to remove any impurities. Then the steel is dipped into liquid zinc that has a temperature around 860 degrees Fahrenheit. Once removed from the zinc, the steel is quenched in a tank to bond the metals. After the finished product has cooled, the coating will have permanently fused with the surface of the steel. There are numerous reasons why hot-dip galvanization is beneficial for steel, and we’ve outlined several below.
Painting is perhaps the only realistic alternative to galvanization when it comes to preventing corrosion, but painting can’t compare to this process. It costs relatively the same, and sometimes less, to galvanize steel as it does to paint it. The galvanization process has also grown increasingly more affordable, whereas painting remains expensive. Not only is the initial cost less, but there are almost no maintenance costs associated with galvanized steel. Painted steel, on the other hand, requires frequent applications to remain effective. That extra work will add up in terms of cost, which can be avoided with galvanized steel. This process is by far the most cost efficient way of protecting steel.
It is well known that galvanized steel has an impressive lifespan. Depending on the application, galvanized steel can last up to 100 years in ideal conditions. Even in harsher environments, like those found near marine-based industries, galvanized steel will remain effective for up to 40 years. When the time comes for maintenance, it is simple and requires no complicated procedures. Due to its low cost and long lifespan, there’s no reason galvanized steel shouldn’t be considered for any project.
The entire galvanization process takes only a few hours to complete, from raw to finished product, thanks to the speed and coverage of the hot-dip coating technique. Painting can take much longer since alternative coating methods must be used, sometimes up to a week or more. This is because paint generally must be applied at least four times before it becomes effective at stopping steel corrosion. Those layers must remain at such a thickness in order to stay effective, as well, which means more applications will be necessary. No such reapplication is necessary with galvanized steel.
Unlike paint, the zinc coating on a galvanized piece of steel is bonded on a molecular scale. That means the coat is much more durable, and much harder to remove. This is important for steel used in almost any industry, since it protects against accidental dings on the job site. It also helps when steel is shipped from one place to another, since the shipping process could lead to damaged material if the steel isn’t properly protected. No other coating, including paint, provides this feature.
The galvanization process protects steel in several distinct ways. First, the zinc coat weathers away at a predictable, slow rate. That allows the lifespan of the coat’s efficiency to be accurately estimated. Secondly, a galvanized steel surface erodes in what is known as a cathodic reaction, which allows zinc from the coat to seal scratches, dings, and other imperfections. This process is sacrificial in nature, since the zinc must weaken in one area to repair another that was damaged by cutting, drilling, or scratching. Lastly, that cathodic erosion prevents rust from forming and growing along an unprotected line. Paint is certainly not capable of covering its own imperfections, and rust easily attacks areas of painted steel that have been exposed by the elements.
Due to the simple nature of the galvanization process, there is essentially no way it can fail. The coatings are accurately measured and applied to specific standards, since the process is readily predictable and defined. Galvanization is one of the only coating methods controlled by a British Standard, which means each piece of galvanized steel meets specifically defined measurements for thickness. Furthermore, since each piece is coated by being dipped into a liquid, the entirety of the surface area is completely covered. This includes the hard to reach areas, like gaps, corners, and other nooks and crannies that might be missed by a coat of paint. The galvanization process completely seals the steel in a seamless coat that actually thickens on the edges and corners, unlike paint, which thins out in those critical spots.
Optimal Construction Material
Once steel has been galvanized it requires no further preparation before it can be used in construction. The material is ready to go as soon as it arrives at the job site, without the need for painting or touch-ups. Total project time can be reduced dramatically with the use of galvanized steel, since it is such a versatile, easy-to-use product. Galvanized steel doesn’t even require surface prep before being covered with a more aesthetic material during construction.