Protecting Steel from Corrosion

Steel may seem very tough and durable. It is very strong but also flexible enough to withstand extreme tearing, shearing, and compressing forces. Steel is also highly resistant to heat. These physical properties make them highly ideal as construction materials for buildings, bridges, dams, roads and other infrastructures. Steel is the main metal for industries in the form of machineries and support structures. However, despite of the seeming invulnerability of steel, it is susceptible to the passive force of corrosion.

The chemical process of oxidation literally erodes the particles of steel, turning them into iron oxides. Steel is mostly iron with traces of carbon and other elements such as manganese, phosphorus, sulfur, silicon, and traces of oxygen, nitrogen and aluminum. These elements are combined or alloyed with iron to form stronger crystalline molecular structures. The iron component remains vulnerable to corrosion through the inevitable exposure to air. The corrosion process can be made much worse if the steel surface is exposed to acid rain or ocean's mist. Hence, bridges over salty water bodies need additional protection.

Some steel components are coated with thin layer of chrome for protection and also for additional aesthetic appeal. Chrome-coated steel components are expensive and are limitedly used in manufacturing motorcycle and car components. Galvanization is a less expensive and a standard technique for protecting steel from corrosion. It is basically about coating the surface of steel with a layer of zinc. The zinc layer protects the steel by undergoing a slow process of sacrificial oxidation to prevent oxygen from combining with the steel. The process is very slow that it may take several years before the zinc layer is completely eaten up.

There are two types of galvanization, namely, electroplated galvanization and hot dip galvanization. As the name implies, electroplated galvanization utilizes electricity to bind the zinc particles to the surface of the steel. This process, however, takes a lot of time and is a bit more expensive. The second method of galvanization is faster and more efficient. It involves quickly dipping chemically-treated and cleaned steel into molten zinc. This process creates a much thicker layer and stronger bond.

You can learn more about the topic discussed in the article by visiting tcg industries website for related information such as galvanised steel suppliers. You may also follow this link for other information.

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