Galvanized steel is one of the most popular and useful steels because of its , durability and ability to be applicable to a variety of projects. It can be a good match for many industries including agriculture, solar, automotive, construction, and many more. We will provide a detailed description of how galvanized steel is processed, its benefits, and how it is used in these various industries.
What is galvanized steel? What is the process?
Galvanized steel is a type of steel in which an application of protective zinc coating is applied to prevent rusting. Galvanization, the process used to apply the zinc, is done through hot-dipped galvanizing.
The steps in the galvanizing process are as follows:
- Clean the steel in a degreasing solution
- Pickle the steel in diluted hot sulfuric acid
- Flux the steel in an aqueous solution (typically zinc-ammonium chloride)
- Immerse the steel in a vat of molten zinc
- Inspect the steel for consistency and a complete coating
What industries utilize galvanized steel?
- Wind & solar industries – Solar projects must have a continuous workflow once installed and any repairs/maintenance results in disruption to service (a.k.a. revenue loss). This means that hot dipped galvanized steels are popular in solar projects for their corrosion protection. It is also popular for its ‘environmental’ friendliness because it does not produce emissions and ensures decades without maintenance.
- Agriculture- Galvanized steel is often utilized in the agriculture industry because of equipment is susceptible to being easily corroded, creating a demand for tougher, resilient equipment. Hot-dip galvanized steel provides corrosion protection that can often last for decades, even when exposed to the harsh environment of farming
- Automotive industry – Though only used on luxury models up until the 1980s, the use of zinc-coated bodies for automobiles is now the norm in auto manufacturing. The ‘body-in-white’ of a car makes up about 80% of the body, all using galvanized steel. The rust resistance of galvanized steel is also a good marketing tool for the automotive industry because they can provide ‘anti-rust warranties’ to customers.
- Construction industry – Whether for residential or commercial, the durability of galvanized steel has made it popular for over a century in the construction industry. It is also selected for construction because of its aesthetics; the ‘shine’ that galvanized steel provides gives it a contemporary feel and is popular in modern architecture designs. Also, it isn’t just used for large structural pieces but things like fencing, gutters, rails, tubing, poles, and much more.
- Telecommunication industry – Phone lines are not an easy maintenance job, they are tall and often difficult to reach. Hot-galvanized steel can be used on phone wiring and equipment boxes which decreases the risk of damage and need for maintenance at all.
There is a reason so many different industries utilize galvanized steel. It has a plethora of benefits, all of which these industries take advantage. The benefits include:
- Low initial cost as compared to most other treated steels.
- Lower maintenance costs than most other coated steels (saves time on repairs and replacements too).
- Increases durability of the steel’s finished product which also increases the product’s reliability.
- Galvanized steel is very protective, including sharp corners and recesses that couldn’t be protected with other coatings. This means that it is resistant to damage.
- Self-healing – meaning that the galvanized coating includes an automatic protection for damaged areas. The coating will corrode preferentially to the steel, creating a sacrificial protection to the areas that are damaged.
- Galvanized steel is immediately ready to use when delivered. It does not require additional preparation of the surface, inspections, painting/coatings, etc.
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