The Most Common Galvanized Steel Uses

February 11, 2022 in Blog / Galvanized Steel
galvanized steel bridge

Did you know that projections for the market for galvanized steel could grow to almost 58 million tons by 2025? There has been an increasing demand by industries and companies for this popular type of steel. Many industries have found a variety of galvanized steel uses such as high-rise buildings, cars, support beams, and more. It is less prone to rust and corrosion than iron or regular steel.

If you have an interest in learning more about the benefits and uses of galvanized steel, then keep reading on.

What Is Galvanized Steel?

Steel that becomes galvanized typically goes through a process of hot-dipping with molten zinc. First, steel becomes dipped in zinc-iron alloy and zinc metal. Next, a coating forms overtop of the steel. Typically, you clean the steel first through a series of steps that includes degreasing. After cleaning the steel, it is put into the liquid zinc for up to ten minutes.

Lastly, the galvanized steel goes through post-treatment which involves cleaning and shaving off excessive zinc. The process of coating steel in zinc is not necessarily for improved strength, but rather, to reduce rust and corrosion.

Galvanized steel is beneficial because of its durability, strength, and multiple uses. The added zinc component to steel makes it more versatile in a variety of industries as it will not rust or corrode. Essentially, this type of steel can last for decades to come.

Galvanized Steel Uses

What are the most common uses of galvanized steel? This type of steel is widely used in a variety of different industries such as:

  • Automotive
  • Solar
  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Telecommunication

It can be used for piping, wiring, framing, and even for household appliances. Galvanized steel is also widely used for commercial buildings and paint adherence.

Types of Galvanized Steel

Hot dipping steel is the most common way of galvanizing it. As mentioned earlier, it involves dipping the steel into melted zinc. Once it re-emerges, the oxygen reacts with the zinc and forms an anti-corrosive layer on top of the steel.

Electrogalvanization is another way of creating galvanized steel. It does not use the dipping process. Instead, it uses electrical currents on your steel. First, an electrolyte solution is placed on the steel. Afterward, the electric current runs through the electrolyte solution and helps deposit zinc onto the surface. In some cases, this can be stronger than hot dipping. Experts suspect that the zinc adheres or bonds more closely to the steel through electrogalvanization. This creates longer-lasting and stronger steel components.

The benefit of electrogalvanization is that you can add other chemicals to the electrolyte solution. In the automotive industry, manufacturers use phosphate salts in conjunction with zinc. The phosphate helps with the paint adherence on car parts. In return, it can make paint and other surface materials last longer than when used with zinc only.

Other common items that use the electric current process are screws, wires, and pipes.

Galvannealing is also used for the creation of galvanized steel. This process uses a zinc-iron alloy mixture. Like electrogalvanization, it helps with paint and gives a matte finish to the product. For creating this look, the steel goes through the typical hot-dipping process with an iron and zinc mixture. Then, it is heated again so that the zinc fully adheres to the steel. It still provides anti-corrosive benefits but can give a more aesthetic appeal.

Molding Galvanized Steel

What are different types of galvanized steel forms? You can mold steel sheets after it has been galvanized.

Sheet metal is widely used, but it usually requires unique forms and shapes for industry and home use. If the metal sheet is thin enough, you may be able to use a sharp, sturdy edge for gently bending it. If it is too thick, then use an electric grinder for creating a thin groove along with the metal sheet. Once you have created a groove, you can bend or shape your metal as you would like.

Keep in mind this process is extremely delicate and if you go too far, then you might snap the metal sheet. One indicator that you have gone too far is that the groove line appears black.

Metal Fatigue

Like all types of metal galvanized steel can eventually wear out with repeated use. It is important that you recognize common signs of metal fatigue in your steel.

The first signs of metal fatigue and failure are cracks around the edges of the surface. If there is a particular point that receives more stress, then the cracks can form in specific regions instead. Once the stress increases, the cracks spread, much like on a car windshield, until the entire piece will fail.

Luckily, galvanized steel eliminates the risk of corrosion failure. This typically happens when steel rusts and breaks down. Any steel that has exposure to water should be galvanized. Vibration and mechanical failure are the other two types of metal fatigue. One of the best ways for combating metal fatigue is purchasing your steel from reliable and trustworthy manufacturers.

Buy Galvanized Steel

During the pandemic, steel prices rose almost 300% above normal. The high demand for this product coupled with shortages created soaring prices across the nation. In fact, to buy galvanized steel before the pandemic, you could expect to pay around $500 to $800 per ton. At one point, steel increased to almost $2,000 per ton.

Although this price has dropped slightly, it points to the high demand steel has on America’s industry. You can continue to expect a growing demand for steel in upcoming years. Some projections put it at an almost 4% growth between 2020 to 2021. Reliable manufacturers and producers can help give you quality materials at a fair price during this competitive market.

Find Your Next Supplier

There are many galvanized steel uses in the construction, automotive, solar, and agricultural businesses. Buildings, cars, and bridges all use versions of galvanized steel because of its non-corrosive nature and durability.

Contact us today at Bushwick metals and let one of our skilled representatives help you choose the type of galvanized steel needed for your industry or business.