How to Protect Your Steel Against Corrosion

July 13, 2018 7:44 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

What is the greatest threat to a steel structure? The answer is corrosion. About 85 percent of all steel is carbon steel, which means it is more susceptible to oxidization, or rusting. Left unprotected and susceptible to the elements, carbon steel often shows oxidization within a matter of a few days. As steel oxidizes, the integrity of the metal is affected, which in turn affects the quality and strength of the product or structure the steel was used to build.

Several factors contribute to the corrosion of steel, including humidity, temperature, pollution and rainfall. The corrosion rate of steel can vary greatly, depending on the environment, use and makeup of the steel. However, one thing remains the same—steel will corrode, and quickly, if steps are not taken to protect it.

While there are several solutions to help prevent the corrosion of steel, one of the most effective and most common methods used by steel fabrication companies in Indiana is galvanization. Let’s take a closer look at this corrosion prevention method.

What is galvanization?

Simply put, galvanization is a method of rust prevention that involves coating a steel surface with a thin layer of zinc. Zinc helps to prevent water and oxygen from reaching the steel underneath the surface by acting as a sacrificial metal. What this means is that the zinc coating takes the steel’s place as the forefront exposed to the environment and suffers corrosion rather than the steel underneath.

How does it work?

Zinc is more reactive than iron and loses its electrons more quickly. This simply means that, when exposed to moisture and air, the electrons in zinc are more likely to react to the environment than the electrons in steel, which results in the zinc taking the brunt of the oxidization while also protecting the steel.

How is it applied?

There are several methods of galvanization. However, the most common galvanization method is hot-dip galvanizing. In this method, the steel is submerged in a bath of melted, molten zinc. The end result is a thick, robust layer of zinc that covers the entire surface of the steel. In some instances, when a thinner layer of zinc is required, another method called electrogalvanizing may be used. In this method, a current of electricity is run through a saline and zinc solution. The electric charge of the solution allows the zinc to adhere to the steel surface, which results in a zinc coating that is much thinner than the one obtained through hot-dip galvanizing.

Quality steel fabrication companies in Indiana know that galvanization is the preferred way to protect steel, which is why we use this method at Benchmark Fabricated Steel. No matter what steel product or structure you are looking to have made, you can trust that we will create a quality product that will also be able to stand the test of time. To learn more about our steel fabrication services and the extra steps we take to best serve our customers, give us a call today!

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