What Is Galvanized Metal Made Of?

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When ferrous metal (metal containing iron) is exposed to air, it readily oxidizes, or rusts, weakening the metal and making it unsuitable for use as a building material. On the other hand, zinc is very resilient to rust and can be used to protect other metals from the harmful effects of air.

Definition

  • Galvanized metal is metal that has been applied with molten zinc. The zinc chemically bonds with the iron or steel, giving it a thin, permanent layer of zinc.

Process

  • Zinc is typically applied through a process called hot-dip galvanization, in which the original metal is placed into a pool of molten zinc.

Invention of Galvanization

  • Hot-dip galvanization was invented by French astronomer Paul Jacques Malouin in 1742.

Advantages

  • Because zinc does not rust easily, it acts as a rust-preventing barrier for the iron or steel it surrounds, allowing galvanized metal to be used in a variety of places that would not be suitable for non-galvanized metal.

Disadvantages

  • Normal paints will not adhere to galvanized metal, so a special primer needs to be applied before painting.

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