If you don’t work in construction, the auto industry, or safety management, chances are that you don’t know a lot about the galvanizing process. But, we’re willing to bet that you deal with galvanized steel every day even if you aren’t paying attention to it. Here are seven items you probably didn’t know were galvanized.
Nails, nuts, bolts, and screws
Rusty nails, nuts, bolts, and screws can lead to structural or mechanical failure. These essentials of metal fabrication are usually galvanized to make them water-resistant. Nails, nuts, bolts, and screws less than 3/8″ in diameter are usually electroplated to avoid adding too much bulk. Nails, nuts, bolts, and screws over 3/8″ in diameter are usually hot-dipped in molten zinc.
Precision instruments and computer casings are usually made from galvanized steel because it is resistant to rusting due to exposure to high humidity and moisture. It is important to galvanize the entire surface so two different metals are not in contact, generating a tiny electrical current that accelerates corrosion.
Galvanized steel is used to create the frame for buildings. Steel supports the overall structure of the building and keeps its components in place. Galvanized steel maintains its strength when untreated structural steel would be weakened by moisture, Galvanized steel not only is less expensive to maintain and adds longevity to the structure, it’s also a less expensive building material to use up front.
PVC is a popular piping material. There is just one major problem with PVC. It doesn’t stand up to heavy loads. When larger vehicles and construction materials are operated over buried PVC pipe, it often bursts.
Galvanized steel is a rust-resistant alternative to PVC piping. Galvanized steel piping will eventually need to be replaced — in 50 to 60 years. But there is a very low likelihood of catastrophic failure causing unplanned expenses.
Galvanized steel is the structural material of choice for playground equipment. Here are some reasons why:
- Metal playsets are more affordable. The acquisition cost of treated lumber playsets is higher than the acquisition cost of galvanized steel play sets.
- Compounding the problem, wooden play sets are often treated with arsenic (giving them a green tint that can rub off onto children’s hands). This makes wooden play sets potentially toxic.
- Wood eventually cracks and breaks down. Properly welded galvanized steel has a much higher life expectancy than wood, and a correspondingly lower budgeted depreciation and replacement cost.
- Galvanized steel doesn’t break into splinters. Children have fewer skin injuries on galvanized steel playscapes.
- Metal doesn’t warp like wood.
- Galvanized steel play equipment is lighter than wooden play equipment, making it easier to move around.
Hot-dip galvanizing protects steel against rust and corrosion in bridges, train tracks, light poles, and vehicles used in mass transit. Galvanized steel makes nighttime lighting affordable. Galvanized steel protects against the failure of bridges and tunnels.
Galvanized steel is ubiquitous in the automotive industry. Until about 1970, American auto manufacturers used untreated structural steel in cars. Just about every car needed a spray-on undercoating to stand up to salt spray in beach locations and in communities that salt roads in the winter. When Japan started exporting cars with galvanized steel, American auto manufacturers realized they needed galvanized steel structural members to provide the rust resistance and added car life American consumers could find in imports.
When cargo needs to be tied down on the deck of a freighter, the wire rope of choice is galvanized steel. Galvanized steel stands up to wind and rain. Galvanized wire rope costs only one-fifth to one-quarter as much as a stainless steel rope but is useful in most of the same applications. Galvanized wire rope with a vinyl coating is popular for tying down aircraft. The vinyl coating makes galvanized steel rope even easier to handle.
Galvanized steel isn’t just used for construction anymore. From autos to electronics and from piping and wire, projects would not be the same without galvanizing. Looking to do a project with hot-dip or spin-dip galvanizing? Give us a call or visit our sites for more information!