Galvanization: The Power of Zinc's Protection

Carbon steel is an exceptional metal known for its malleability, ductility, and strength, depending on how much carbon is present. One disadvantage of the material, however, is that it doesn’t contain enough chromium, so it can’t form a chromium oxide layer that would protect it from rust. This vulnerability spells trouble for industrial facilities; deteriorating buildings, bridges, and pipes are unsightly, costly to repair, and affect operations adversely.

Metallurgists, however, have devised a way to protect carbon steel from rust: galvanization. As a leading provider of metal fabrication services, Hascall Steel Company includes galvanized carbon steel in its service lineup because of its resistance to corrosion. Let’s explore how galvanization protects carbon steel and makes it ideal for various applications.

The Power of Zinc

Galvanization refers to the process of coating metals like carbon steel in zinc, which has a high resistance to corrosion. This way, the iron in the base metal is no longer exposed to moisture and air, preventing rust.

Galvanization also protects carbon steel through galvanic corrosion. This happens when two metals of a different electrochemical makeup come in contact with one another in the presence of an electrolyte. One of them becomes an anode and the other, a cathode. The anode corrodes faster while the cathode corrodes slower than they do by themselves. In the galvanization process, the zinc is usually the anode; it helps slow down the corrosion of the cathode, which is the carbon steel.

The Galvanization Process

Galvanization, also known as hot-dipped galvanization, involves dipping carbon steel into molten zinc. It starts with cleaning the steel to ensure that a bond forms between it and the zinc. Then, workers flux it to remove any remaining residual oxides. They then immerse the metal in a liquid bath of zinc, covering it completely. This protects the base metal for decades, even without maintenance.

Galvanization is a tried-and-tested process. Metallurgists, in fact, have been using this method since 1742.

Some companies offer more than galvanized metal. Hascall Steel Company, for instance, provides galvanneal and galvalume steel. Galvanneal is steel exposed to heat after being immersed in molten zinc, acquiring particular properties. Galvalume, meanwhile, is a proprietary steel coating consisting of 55% aluminum, 43.4% zinc, and 1.6% silicon. It has twice the lifespan of traditional galvanized metal.

Electro Galvanizing

A bath of molten zinc is not the only way to galvanize metals. Unlike hot-dipped galvanization, electro galvanization uses an electrical current in a saline or zinc solution to transfer zinc ions. A strong zinc coating develops as the ions are deposited unto the base metal.

Electro galvanization provides a smoother and more uniform finish than hot-dipped galvanization. The coating, however, is usually thinner.

The Sustainable Choice

Not only does galvanization create better products, but it is also a sustainable way to prevent rust. The American Galvanizers Association says the zinc coating protects carbon steel for many years, allowing for minimal economic and environmental impact. After all, businesses won’t have to spend resources to rehabilitate it. Additionally, its main components — zinc and steel — are abundant and recyclable.

Galvanized steel has an impressive set of advantages, which is why Hascall Steel Company offers the material. We coat steel using hot-dipping, electro galvanizing, galvannealing, and galvaluming processes. If your project calls for superior galvanized steel, don’t hesitate to ask us. Contact us today to request a quote.

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HOW BEST TO ORDER STEEL FROM US...

At Hascall Steel we understand that part of being an expert is being able to tailor steel to your needs. With that in mind there are some key areas that will help us fulfill your steel order in a way that is best suited to your company’s capacities. By working with our sales team, we can adjust several aspects of your order to make things easier for your team members. Next are some areas to keep in mind that can improve efficiency and quality.

1. MATERIAL SPECIFICATIONS

Often customers place an order with the following basic information: Quantity/Gauge/Width/Length/Steel Type…

However there are quite a few QUALIFIERS that will help us all get the best value from the informational exchange.

2. TOLERANCES

When discussing material with our Sales Team, be sure to include tolerances for your gauge, width, and length (if applicable). In some cases, Hascall can meet tolerances as low as +/-.001 on gauge, +/-.003 on width, and +/-.015 on length. Specifications – Many steel specifications come with sub categories that can alter chemistries and mechanical boundaries. Be sure to have the full specification when ordering or talk with your sales representative to discuss options.

3. PACKAGING

Proper packaging can help reduce unloading and production time. ID – We offer ID sizes in 16”, 20”, and 24” OD – We are able to provide OD sizes up to 72” Skidding – Standard or custom skidding available, just let us know how you would like your material skidded to best meet your equipment needs.
Paper – Protective paper is standard on all orders but can be applied with standard or full wrapping both with and without Hascall Logos. Max Coil and Skid Weight – Coils can be adjusted to meet your max lift and coil capacities.
Offloading – Material can be shipped skidded or standing and set for Forklift on the side or the rear of the bed. Material can also be shipped ready for sheet lifter or overhead crane offload.

4. DELIVERY

Steel is only good if it gets there when you need it. At Hascall we have an experienced Logistics team that will ensure that your steel arrives on time in the way that best suits your needs. Whether you would like delivery via our in-house Steel Man Transportation service or if you would like to pick up your material personally, our team can set up appointments that meet your schedule. Our Logistics team can also arrange a 3rd party carrier if needed. Delivery dates, times, and address should be discussed with your Sales Representative prior to ordering.

5. THE UNKNOWN

And lastly, we know each customer is unique. There may be special requests that we would love to accommodate. These may range from a sample of the steel attached to the packaging, to increased tag requirements and frequencies. We are happy to work with you in order to be your trusted choice in slit steel coil and blanks.