Galvanized steel: production and types

July 25, 2023

Zinc-coated steel, also known as galvanized steel, is a common and important metal material with a wide range of applications in various fields. In this article, we will explore the production process, advantages, and different types of applications of zinc-coated steel to help readers better understand this versatile material.

Production Process of Zinc-coated Steel

Zinc-coated steel is steel that has been treated with a zinc coating, primarily to increase the steel's corrosion resistance. Zinc coating can be achieved through two main methods: hot-dip galvanizing and electroplating.

Hot-dip galvanizing: This is one of the most common galvanizing methods. In the hot-dip galvanizing process, the steel is first immersed in molten zinc, forming a layer of zinc-steel alloy. During this process, oxide on the steel surface is removed, allowing the zinc to firmly adhere to the steel surface. Hot-dip galvanized steel has excellent corrosion resistance and is suitable for outdoor building structures, pipes, and automotive components.

Electroplating: The electroplating process deposits a thin layer of zinc coating on the steel surface through electrolysis. Compared to hot-dip galvanizing, the coating of electroplated zinc is thinner, so it is more commonly used in applications with lower corrosion resistance requirements. The advantages of electroplated zinc are its lower cost and the ability to produce more complex shapes.

Production Process of Zinc-coated Steel

Acid cleaning: The production process of zinc-coated steel usually begins with cleaning the surface of the steel coil. First, the steel coil is immersed in an acidic solution to remove surface oxides and other impurities, making the steel surface cleaner.

Galvanizing: The cleaned steel coil is immersed in molten zinc to form a layer of zinc coating on the steel surface through hot-dip galvanizing. This layer of zinc can effectively isolate the steel from oxygen and water vapor in the atmosphere, preventing the steel from rusting.

Cooling: The galvanized steel coil is cooled by cooling equipment to solidify the zinc coating and ensure its firm adhesion.

Rolling: The galvanized steel coil is sent to a rolling mill after cooling to process it into the desired size and shape. The rolling process also helps to further improve the surface smoothness of the steel.

Advantages of Zinc-coated Steel

Zinc-coated steel is widely used because it has many advantages:

Corrosion resistance: The main feature of zinc-coated steel is its excellent corrosion resistance. The zinc coating can form a protective layer on the steel surface, effectively isolating the steel from the outside environment and preventing chemical reactions between the steel and the outside environment, thus extending its service life.

Strength and toughness: Zinc-coated steel not only has excellent corrosion resistance but also maintains the strength and toughness of the original steel, making it an ideal choice for use under high loads and harsh conditions.

Environmental friendliness: The galvanizing process itself is relatively environmentally friendly because it does not use harmful chemicals. Moreover, the durability of zinc-coated steel means less resource consumption and waste generation, which is in line with the concept of sustainable development.

Multifunctional applications: Zinc-coated steel can be made into various shapes according to different requirements, including pipes, plates, profiles, etc. It is widely used in construction, transportation, agriculture, energy, and other fields.

Common Types of Zinc-coated Steel

Hot-dip galvanized steel plate: This is one of the most common types of zinc-coated steel. Hot-dip galvanized steel plate is made by immersing the steel plate in molten zinc, forming a thick layer of zinc coating on the steel surface. This type of steel has good corrosion resistance and a long service life and is widely used in building roofs, walls, vehicle manufacturing, etc.

Hot-dip galvanized steel pipe: Hot-dip galvanized steel pipe is made by immersing the steel pipe in molten zinc. This steel pipe not only has good corrosion resistance but also maintains high strength and rigidity during use, so it is widely used in water supply and drainage pipelines, oil and gas transportation, etc.

Electroplated zinc-coated steel: Electroplated zinc is made by immersing the steel in an electrolyte and using an electric current to deposit zinc ions on the steel surface to form a zinc coating. Compared to hot-dip galvanized steel, electroplated zinc has a smoother and more uniform surface and is suitable for applications requiring high appearance standards, such as furniture manufacturing, automotive components, etc.

Aluminum-zinc alloy-coated steel: Aluminum-zinc alloy-coated steel adds a certain proportion of aluminum and zinc to the hot-dip galvanizing process to form an aluminum-zinc alloy coating. This steel combines the advantages of aluminum and zinc, has better corrosion resistance and thermal reflectivity, and is widely used in building roofs, walls, etc.

Different Types of Zinc-coated Steel and Their Applications

Galvanized steel pipe: Galvanized steel pipes are products formed by bending and welding steel strips and then subjecting them to hot-dip or electroplating. They are used in water pipes, gas pipelines, and heating pipes in buildings, as well as in transportation systems in the industrial sector.

Galvanized steel plate: Galvanized steel plate is a product whose surface is coated with zinc. It is used in building roofs, walls, manufacturing home appliances, automotive manufacturing, shipbuilding, etc.

Galvanized profiles: Galvanized profiles include various shapes of steel, such as angle steel, channel steel, and H-beam. These profiles are widely used in building structures, mechanical manufacturing, and bridge construction.

Galvanized bolts and nuts: These bolts and nuts are used to connect buildings, machinery, and electrical equipment, providing reliable fastening and corrosion protection.

Other applications: Galvanized steel wire, galvanized steel pipe fittings, galvanized steel strips, etc., are also widely used in different fields, such as agricultural greenhouse construction, power transmission lines, communication equipment, etc.

Zinc-coated steel is widely used in various fields due to its excellent corrosion resistance, strength and toughness, and multifunctional applications. Hot-dip galvanizing and electroplating are common galvanizing processes used to produce different types of zinc-coated steel. With the development of technology and the continuous changes in demand, the application prospects of zinc-coated steel will become even broader.

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