Unlocking the Power of Galvanization: Transforming Steel for Enhanced Durability and Corrosion Resistance and Road Safety Applications
Galvanization, the process of applying a zinc coating to various metals to prevent corrosion, has been an effective way to protect iron and steel from rust for over a century. This process is typically chosen above alternative methods of rust prevention for its many advantages, such as cost efficiency, low maintenance, longevity, sustainability, and aesthetics. Used across a broad spectrum of industries for various applications, it remains a leading corrosion-prevention method for many users of iron and steel.
Today, our leading hot dip galvanization professionals at Armco Superlite will briefly explain how galvanizing works as corrosion prevention and how its durability benefits construction and road safety applications.
How Galvanization Works
There are several methods used to galvanize iron and steel, but the most popular, and the most effective, is hot dip galvanization. Galvanizing involves sections of steel or various components made of steel being submerged in a bath of molten zinc. This process works in two ways to prevent corrosion:
- Barrier Protection: The zinc coating forms a physical barrier that prevents corrosive substances from reaching the underlying steel. This is where the zinc coating is metallurgically bonded to the steel, which means that it is very difficult for corrosive substances to penetrate the coating and reach the underlying steel. Additionally, the zinc coating is “self-healing,” meaning that if it is damaged, the zinc will react with the surrounding air in the atmosphere to form a new protective layer.
- Cathodic Protection: Zinc is more reactive than steel, so it will corrode first if the coating is damaged. This sacrificial protection assists in protecting the exposed steel from rusting. Zinc sits higher on the galvanic series, which means that the zinc film is more reactive than steel. Once zinc and steel are in contact in a molten bath, the zinc will form a thin layer on top of the steel. When this finished product is exposed to oxidation or an electrolyte – rust-causing molecules like seawater, moisture, and oxygen – the zinc will protect the steel from corrosion.
Once this transformation has taken place between these two metals, if professionally applied, it will last for decades. Should structures be made from galvanized steel, including posts, sheathing, and connectors, there will be very little maintenance even in the harshest of environments.
Subsequently, there will be no unplanned shutdowns for recoating, and as a consequence, no consequential losses, no loss of production time, and no labour and product increases as with other methods of rust prevention. This ensures that, even if it is not the cheapest initial cost solution, it will pay for itself over time.
Applications For Galvanization in Construction and Road Safety Projects
With a few of the many benefits of galvanizing already explained, including longevity and durability, the applications will appear endless, even for the novice contractor. When it comes to the construction and road-safety sectors, they are just as limitless. Here are only a few, quick examples of each:
- The construction of corrugated steel culverts for roads and stockpile tunnels for multiple industries
- Concrete tensioning and pre-stressing when building bridges and multi-story buildings
- Used as wall sheathing and roofing for domestic homes, storage barns, outhouses, and more
- Galvanized W-Beam guardrails, posts, and end terminals
- Quadguard safety systems
- Wire Rope safety fences and more
Industry Leaders in Steel Galvanization
At Armco Superlite, we are listed in accordance with the BSI ISO 9001:2015 quality-management system, which ensures the quality of every piece of galvanized steel that leaves our property. Moreover, we hold the SATAS mark for hot-dipped galvanizing and all galvanizing is done at our premises is in accordance with the SANS 121 / ISO 1461 specifications.
With two galvanizing plants located at Isando and Randfontein, we are geared to galvanize most steel products and sheathing of up to 13m in length. So, when it comes to the galvanization of metals, there is only one logical choice – do it right! Contact us at Armco Superlite.