Jun 05 2017
The aesthetics of your outdoor fabrication project are important. Exposed steel that is galvanized can add to your design and give the steel a more attractive finish. The steel has an appealing gray finish after it has been galvanized, but it can also be painted or powder-coated for a new look.
How is Steel Galvanized?
Zinc has been used for over 250 years to hot-dip-galvanize steel. Zinc prevents steel-based corrosion more than other materials. The steel materials are dipped in a bath of molten zinc to coat and protect the metal.
The coating prevents corrosive substances from touching or affecting the underlying steel or iron. The zinc coating is a sacrificial anode, which is how the galvanic process protects the submerged metal. If the coating becomes scratched, the rest of the zinc coating will protect the steel.
Why You Should Galvanize Your Outdoor Projects
Galvanized steel lasts much longer than steel that is not galvanized. Factors like temperature, airborne salinity, sulfur dioxide, humidity, and rainfall can all contribute to the corrosion of a project that hasn’t undergone galvanization.
The galvanization process offers protection in three ways:
- Cathodic protection. The zinc that is being used is more anodic than steel. When a corrosion cell forms, the zinc releases electrons to protect the steel.
- Barrier protection.The zinc used in the galvanization process is dense, and will not allow any moisture to penetrate the coating.This keeps the base steel from corroding.
- Patina protection. After the galvanizing process is complete, the zinc is exposed to the atmosphere. The zinc reacts with the oxygen in the air to form a thin powder on the surface. A few days after the process, the zinc starts to react with the hydrogen in the air. After this reaction, the zinc hydroxide is exposed to moisture, forming a zinc carbonate film. This film is what gives the coating its durability.
Outdoor projects look best when they blend with their surroundings. As the steel ages and the zinc carbonate coating is formed, the steel becomes a matte gray. This color blends well with its surroundings no matter if it is in a city or a wooded area.
When exposed steel is being used in a project, you want peace-of-mind that your product will not corrode. The galvanization process protects your steel and ages well over time. This protection allows your steel products to continue to be a focal point as they age.
The color of your galvanized steel can easily be adjusted if the matte gray finish does not fit your project’s needs. Depending on your branding or safety marking needs, you can paint or powder coat after the galvanization process. Adding paint or color powder coating benefits the zinc layers by giving them an extra layer of protection. Working together, these products give you extended protection and long steel life.
Projects that Benefit from Galvanization
Any outdoor project can benefit from the galvanization process if steel is involved. The most common use of galvanized metal is commercial construction products. This metal can be found on awnings, balconies, ductwork, handrails, fences, ladders, support beams, or verandas.
Another use for galvanization is piping and plumbing. These materials are consistently exposed to water and other corrosive materials; galvanizing plumbing can increase the life of your pipes by up to 70 years.
Galvanize Your Project’s Steel
Your outdoor project will greatly benefit from the galvanization process. The zinc carbonate on your metal will give your project an appealing look while protecting it from corrosion. Contact Swanton Welding today to discuss galvanizing your project’s metal components today.