6 Benefits of Galvanized Steel
What are the benefits of galvanized steel?
- Durable coating
- Lower maintenance
- All-around protection
- Can be inspected easily
Metals, especially those that have high iron content, are prone to corrosion. This is a phenomenon wherein the surface or the entire metal is oxidized, effectively damaging it. Corrosion is a normal occurrence and is often the result of prolonged exposure to outdoor conditions, like oxygen. To protect these same metals, manufacturers turn towards the benefits of galvanizing which has become a cost-effective, low-maintenance, time-saving, and eco-friendly option of coating metals together.
What is Galvanizing?
Galvanizing is a type of metal coating method that primarily relies on applying a layer of zinc onto different metals. The purpose of this is to provide a durable and corrosion-resistant layer on the material. Different galvanizing methods can be used, but the most popular is arguably hot-dip or batch-dipping galvanizing that involves submerging metal parts into a molten zinc bath.
Before galvanizing, the metal piece or specimen must undergo proper surface preparation. This means cleaning the substrate and ensuring it is free from debris, dust, and grime that may potentially affect the adherence of the coating.
Manufacturers will typically make use of a mild solvent-based wax cleaner, applied through a towel and dried thoroughly before applying a uniform zinc coating. The result is a durable and corrosion-resistant metal that not only protects the metal but also improves its shelf life. Read on to learn more.
As mentioned, galvanized metals are far more durable than bare or mill-finished steel or iron, for example. Galvanizing provides a strong layer that not only prevents rusting but also significantly increases the lifespan of the metal. If steel is known to last for up to 50 decades, galvanizing can extend that lifespan by 50 to 80 more years.
Galvanized materials also offer better impact resistance, particularly when exposed to certain environmental conditions. This makes galvanized metals an excellent choice for construction projects — construction companies benefit from using high-quality materials to ensure successful building outcomes while minimizing rework.
Mill-finished steel may involve time-consuming activities to maintain. In many cases, corrosion resistance is also not assured due to the high iron content found in this type of metal. This is why any industry that uses steel or iron in its operations has to consistently conduct maintenance procedures, such as painting or applying a dry coating to protect the material.
Unlike these types of coatings, however, galvanizing greatly lowers maintenance because very little is needed to ensure the quality of galvanized coatings. Whereas with powder coating that has to be scraped off and over-coated after some time, galvanizing is a much lower maintenance option. This is important to consider for many industries, as they have more time and energy to focus on core aspects of their business.
Less maintenance needed effectively translates to lower costs. Those who make use of galvanized metal products for their operations have the advantage of spending less on buying coating materials. They also won’t have to invest in other secondary or post-processing techniques to ensure their galvanized products are of good quality.
Compared to other types of coating, galvanizing has been the preferred method because the process is relatively simple, raw materials are readily available and affordable.
While aluminum may be a cheaper choice for corrosion-resistant materials, it may have drawbacks on the strength properties. Meanwhile, stainless steel can be expensive and impractical for small applications — this makes galvanized steel the most cost-friendly solution.
In galvanizing, all portions of the steel or metal is fully submerged into the molten zinc bath, offering complete and all-around surface protection. Provided that the right surface preparation has been done, even inaccessible portions of the metal will be coated.
In galvanizing, zinc also serves as the “sacrificial anode” for the metal. Even if the coating has been scratched, it will not affect the appearance and functionality of the coated steel. This is because the remaining zinc will still be able to provide ample protection for the entire steel surface.
Steel in its barest form is already eco-friendly — it can be indefinitely repurposed without a loss in its original properties. Further, steel manufacturing to date has become less resource-intensive and more sustainable, producing less waste and overall improving productivity.
Zinc galvanizing has also become a more reliable and environmentally-friendly method of protecting metals like steel. As it is capable of coating all surfaces of a metal, there is little waste produced, significantly reducing the amount of scrap metal that heads to the landfill.
Galvanization also does not produce any VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that are known to increase greenhouse gas presence, leave a high carbon footprint, and affect even human health. This makes the process sustainable and in line with renewable and innovative manufacturing practices today.
Can Be Inspected Easily
Finally, galvanized coatings can be easily inspected without any need for complex machinery. Metal fabricators or manufacturers that are looking to use galvanized metals for assembly, can already depend on visual inspections. For further quality assurance, it’s also possible to implement a number of non-destructive testing methods to make sure the material is consistent with galvanizing standards.
Many industries and even the average consumer have taken advantage of the many benefits of galvanized steel. Although this process appears simple — steel products are dipped into a hot molten zinc solution — the result is a durable, cost-effective, sustainable, and high-strength coating that remains unparalleled. In comparison to other surface coating types, galvanizing continues to better them in terms of strength and added practical benefits for sturdier and longer-lasting steel products.