Hot galvanized steel consists of a steel object that has been coated with zinc in a process known as hot dip galvanizing. This galvanizing process creates a permanent bond between the steel and the zinc, and gives the object enhanced qualities that it would not have without the zinc coating. Hot galvanized steel has a grainy, crystallized appearance that is quite different from the darker finish of non-galvanized steel.
To make hot galvanized steel, the steel object must be thoroughly cleaned to remove all grease and dirt that could interfere with the galvanizing process. Next, the object is dipped in a pool of molten zinc, or passed under a spray of molten zinc. The oxygen within the steel reacts with the zinc to form a coating material known as zinc oxide. The coated object is then dipped or sprayed with cold water to quickly cool it in a process called quenching" Sometimes lead or other alloys are added to the molten zinc to further enhance the properties of the steel.
Hot galvanized steel is used for a wide variety of construction, manufacturing and industrial applications. It is used to create roofing, steel beams, appliances, automobiles, tools and many other products. Most steel that is used outdoors is galvanized, which increases its ability to resist rusting and corrosion. Any type of steel object, from a steel plate to steel sheet metal can undergo galvanization under the right conditions.
The hot galvanizing process is an important part of steel manufacturing, and offers many advantages. Hot galvanized steel is much more resistant to rust and chemical corrosion than cold-rolled or carbon steel. It is also stronger and more durable, and able to hold up under a wider range of temperatures or weather conditions. Galvanized steel products offer more flexibility to manufacturers, and hot dip galvanizing is a fairly simple and affordable process.
Buyers and installers of galvanized steel products should be aware of the limitations of this material, however. Hot galvanized steel is difficult to weld, as the welding process interacts with the zinc to form gases that are potentially hazardous. The maximum temperature that galvanized steel can be exposed to before the zinc coating begins to melt is relatively low, which limits its use in certain applications. Finally, galvanized steel tends to cost more than cold-rolled or carbon steel, which can have a major impact on projects that require large quantities of this material.