You’ve probably heard the term “galvanized steel” before. You know that steel is an alloy of iron and carbon that results in an incredibly strong metal that is used in all sorts of things, from skyscrapers to jail cells. But what is galvanization, and how does galvanization affect the characteristics of steel?
An Introduction to Galvanization
Simply put, galvanization is a special coating applied to steel that helps prevent it from rusting. Without the coating, steel will quickly rust, which would make it dangerous to use in any situation where it interacts with the elements. Imagine what would happen if steel girders rusted in buildings or if the steel body of an automobile rusted after just a year on the road?
The galvanized coating is made of zinc, which actually prevents water and other corrosive elements from interacting with the steel. In this way, it acts as a great shield for steel, as well as iron, which is also highly vulnerable to rusting.
While galvanization is a great way to help steel resist rusting, it isn’t invincible. Eventually, if left untreated, the steel will eventually rust. This can often take decades depending upon the environmental conditions. If steel continues to receive treatment, it will last much longer.
How the Galvanization Process Works
Steel can be galvanized in several ways. The method of galvanization will impart unique characteristics to the steel. Some of the top methods of galvanization are:
- Hot dip galvanizing — where steel is dipped into the zinc solution
- Electrogalvanizing – where the coating is bonded to the steel through electroplating
- Thermal diffusion galvanizing (also called Sheradizing) – where zinc powder and steel parts are tumbled in a sealed rotating drum
Hot dip galvanizing is the most popular method for galvanizing steel, but it is not ideal for all situations. For example, hot dip galvanizing does not provide adequate protection for steel that will be exposed to highly corrosive environments, such as salt water. Smaller pieces of steel, like bolts and nails, also do not do well with hot dip galvanizing.
Galvanized Steel Mesh
At Lawrence Sintered Metals, we are proud to offer galvanized steel mesh, which possesses all the tensile strength of steel and also resists rusting. This is an important feature for many of our customers, who use our galvanized steel mesh to assist with gardening, keep their pets safe, and protect their property from intruders. We know our galvanized steel mesh has to hold up to mother nature.