Galvanized metal buckets are commonly used in gardens as well as in manufacturing settings because the metal used to make such buckets is resistant to corrosion from moisture and exposure to the elements. The process of making these buckets usually starts with creating the structure of the bucket from a specific type of metal, such as aluminum, iron, or steel. Aluminum is already somewhat resistant to corrosion, so galvanization is not always necessary. Steel and iron, however, are susceptible to rust and corrosion, so galvanization is usually necessary if moisture will come in contact with the bucket at any time.
Once the form of the bucket has been made, usually by bending or rolling the metal into the desired shape and crimping or welding the ends, the buckets need to be galvanized. The process of galvanization involves coating the metal in a protective layer of zinc, which will in turn react with oxygen to create zinc oxide. Galvanized metal buckets therefore feature a layer of zinc over every surface, often including the handle. Galvanized metal buckets are usually coated with zinc using a process known as hot-dip galvanization.
This process involves heating zinc until it is molten, and then dipping the bucket into the zinc bath. This zinc bath will sometimes contain molten lead to help maintain the fluidity, though this is not always the case. The metal bucket will pass through the bath, and when it is removed, it is exposed to oxygen so zinc oxide can form. This gives the galvanized metal buckets their corrosion resistance, as well as their distinctive gray, crystallized look. If the bucket needs to be repaired in the future using welding, the zinc coating is usually removed, even though the zinc will not generally interfere with the welding process. The fumes from the zinc, however, can be quite dangerous.
Of course, the metal used to make the galvanized metal buckets can be galvanized before being shaped into the bucket. This makes the process of hot-dipping a bit easier, and manufacturers will maintain the versatility of being able to use the metal for a variety of applications rather than just for buckets.
Galvanized metal buckets are not the only products made with this galvanization process. It is commonly used for a wide variety of parts, such as hand rails, fencing components, and any metal components that will be exposed to moisture and corrosion regularly. Other galvanization processes exist, though this is one of the most commonly used and convenient processes.