Galvanized steel is a metal that has been coated to create a product that can resist corrosion and rust. It is an ideal material for use in building structures and other construction designed to endure many years of exposure to the harsh elements. Used for over 100 years, galvanized steel remains one of the most widely-used materials in the construction industry due to its durability. At the end of this article, you will learn where you can buy galvanized steel in New England.
What Is the Galvanization Process?The process used to make galvanized steel includes the application of a protective coating made of zinc to metals, such as steel or iron, as a means of preventing rust and corrosion. The term “galvanization” comes from the name of Luigi Galvani, an Italian scientist who was the first to conduct experiments related to electrophysiology and bioelectricity, which led to the discovery of the galvanization process used later to protect metals.
The process is done through the use of what is known as a hot-dip galvanization, which submerges steel parts into molten zinc. Can you imagine how hot zinc has to get to become molten? In order to create galvanized steel, the zinc must be heated to an amazing 680 degrees Fahrenheit. When the steel gets dipped into the molten zinc and then pulled from the bath, a reaction occurs with the oxygen in the air which actually makes the zinc become a part of the steel.
Modern technology has improved the process that has been used for over 100 years even further, using electricity to charge the metal surfaces before spraying them with a thin coating of zinc rather than dipping the metal into a molten bath. The same reaction takes place with the oxygen in the air, creating the galvanized steel. However, many contractors prefer to purchase galvanized steel products that were created using the hot-dip galvanization method, because it creates a thicker, more robust coating over the metal surface.
Uses for Galvanized Steel in Southeastern MassachusettsMetal that has been galvanized is perfect for use on materials that will be continually or frequently exposed to the elements. The galvanization process makes the steel repellent to both water and salt, making it a great material for use in boat and ship building. In fact, galvanized steel is used by the U.S. Navy to create all of its ships, carriers and submarines. It is even used to create bridges due to its ability to stand up to water and ocean spray.
Galvanized steel is also used to create the internal structure of buildings. Metals that have been galvanized are a great choice for outdoor playground equipment, railings and other heavy-use items that are left out in the elements. In the metal industry, GI is a term used to denote galvanized iron, which is commonly used in finished products such as trash cans and air ducts.
Lifetime and Care of Galvanized Steel in Southeastern Massachusetts
The lifetime of galvanized steel products will depend on a couple of factors, such as exposure to saltwater, air temperature, air moisture and chemicals. For example, galvanized steel that is not exposed to saltwater or high humidity can have a usable lifetime of well over 60 years. On the other hand, galvanized steel that is exposed to salt spray or saltwater in tropical conditions might only last 30-40 years. Industrial uses of galvanize steel, which expose the metal to corrosive chemicals, will typically last around 20 years.
Frequent inspection and care of galvanized steel has been proven to extend its overall lifetime. Any areas that become corroded should be removed immediately and any areas that lose part of the zinc coating should be covered with a special paint made just for galvanized steel. However, galvanized steel that has become covered with rust that is 0.5 mm thick or more should be replaced as soon as it is discovered.
The Advantages to Choosing Galvanized Steel in Southeastern Massachusetts
The corrosion resistant properties of galvanized steel are much greater than iron or steel alone, particularly under extreme use conditions. The zinc protects the metal by taking all of the scratches and abuse given to the materials.
Even if the zinc becomes scratched, the steel that becomes exposed will still be protected by the zinc that remains. This makes galvanization much more superior to other coatings and coverings, such as enamel, painted or powdered coatings.
Compared to other similar materials, galvanized steel also costs less to manufacture, which makes it more affordable for contractors and industrial businesses to use. The application process is simple and effective, requiring less maintenance throughout the life of the product.
Where to Buy Galvanized Steel in New England
Mid City Steel has locations in both Westport, Massachusetts and Bozrah, Connecticut and can provide commercial, industrial, construction and sub-contractor customers with a line of high-quality galvanized steel products. Those products include floor form, pipe, roof decking, sheet, coils, square tubing, rebar, bar grating and angle. Speak with a representative at Mid City Steel for details about galvanized steel and our full line of high-quality materials and products.