You hear the word ‘galvanized’ all the time when it comes to metals. Whether you are shopping for materials or purchasing a finished product of metal fabrication, you’ll inevitably hear the word thrown around. So, what is galvanization? Galvanization is a process that metal is put through in order to protect it from corrosion. There are various ways to galvanize metal, but no matter which methodology is chosen, the results will be more or less the same in the end. At the end of the galvanization process, you will end up with the metal being layered with a coat of zinc, which is the protective shield against corrosion.
There are three common ways to galvanize metal
Hot-Dipping is a galvanization method where steel or iron is dipped into molten zinc. A primitive method, so to speak, that is prone to leaving a zinc coating that is thicker than necessary or desired.
Thermal Diffusion heats the metal and zinc powder together at very high temperatures. Once a certain heat threshold is passed, the zinc will melt down and form along the surface of the metal that is being galvanized.
Electroplating, or electro-galvanizing, gives metal it’s zinc coat by passing an electric current through the metal. This method is typically used in heavy machinery such as cars and trucks.
How to know when Metal is Galvanized
Metal workers can tell if metal is galvanized right away after a quick look, but how can the everyday person who is foreign to metal work tell whether they are looking at galvanized metal or not? Galvanized metal will be lighter in color than non galvanized metal and it will also appear to be a bit more dull in tone. Non galvanized metal has more of a shiny appearance. Galvanized metal will also have a slightly flaked appearance, with subtle silver flakes covering the surface.