If you’re a construction worker or commercial supplier, one of the most common materials you work with is probably galvanized steel. One of the best things about steel is that it’s one of the most recycled materials on Earth. Approximately 88% of steel in the world is recycled, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. One of the worst is that is rust relatively quickly. In North America that number is estimated to be 69%.
The Galvanized steel is basically stainless steel that’s been coated with zinc through a specific process that results in helping to prevent the onset of rust. Since galvanized steel is used in industries like construction and development, increasing the longevity/lifespan of the material is crucial. Here are three fact about galvanized steel you may not have known.
- History: The galvanization process can be traced back to as early as the 4th Century AD. At that time, people in India built the Iron Pillar in Delhi and are believed to have been the first people to use this type of process. Europeans are believed to have first stumbled upon galvanized iron during the 17th century, on Indian warriors. It was named, in English, after the Italian scientist Luigi Galvani. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century when it started to become a commonly used material.
- Different Specific Types: The most common method of galvanizing steel is what’s known as the hot-dip method. This is not the only way to do it though. Electrogalvanizing applies a thinner coating and is used when something like decorative paint will be applied afterwards (i.e. car). Hot-dip is fine for some things, like stainless steel strapping that’s between 3/8″ x .015 to 3/4″ x 0.30 in size, but not for nuts and bolts where it will fill in too much of the threads.
Finally, there’s Shepardizing, or thermal diffusion galvanizing. This is considered a more durable form as there is no hydrogen embrittlement.
- Still Can Rust: Even though galvanized steel is made to protect it from rust, eventually it still will. It’s virtually impossible — at least with the technology available today — to completely prevent steel from eventually rusting.