5 reasons why you should galvanize your axles

Hot dip galvanized steel plays an important role within the modern age, it can been seen all around us. Hot dip galvanizing is the process by which clean steel is immersed into molten Zinc to obtain a coating that is bonded to it. The process provides long term corrosion protection, as well as many additional benefits that may sometimes be overlooked, forgotten or misunderstood.

What is galvanised steel used for?

With a history that stretches back over 150 years, there are innumerable examples of galvanised steel in use in many environments, which prove its performance.

Galvanized steel is all around us, in a whole variety of industries including road, rail, energy plants, oil and gas, agriculture, water and waste and sports and leisure. It can play an important role for buildings, bridges, facades, signal gantries, gates, balconies and even sculptures. Wherever there is a risk for corrosion of steel, galvanising should be used.

1. Galvanizing is Durable

A galvanized coating is one of the most durable forms of corrosion protection on the market.

An average coating thickness of 85 microns, the same thickness as a sheet of A4 paper, can protect a steel structure for the better part of 100 years.

One of the inherent benefits of hot dip galvanizing is that when clean steel that is greater than 6mm thick is submerged into molten zinc, it will develop a minimum mean coating of 85 microns. This coating thickness will meet the corrosion performance required in many applications across the New Zealand today.

In inland areas, a galvanized coating can weather at less than one micron per year, giving it incredible longevity. Even in coastal environments an 85 micron coating can still deliver a life expectancy of 30 years or more.

2. Galvanizing is Reliable

Galvanizing is a relatively straightforward and closely controlled process. The coating formed is consistent, predictable and simply specified.

There are a number of reasons why galvanizing steel is the most reliable form of corrosion protection. Firstly, as a natural metallurgical reaction – a function of introducing clean steel into molten zinc at a specified temperature – galvanizing is a replicable process.

Unlike a paint coating, the metallurgical bond that is formed through galvanizing becomes part of the steel itself and is not merely a chemical or mechanical bond.

As a natural reaction, galvanizing occurs automatically and does not rely on manual application, or require cooling and reapplication of additional layers. The resultant galvanized coating protects steel from day one and can be depended upon for generations.

3. Galvanizing is Predictable

A galvanized coating offers predictable corrosion protection that weathers in a linear fashion. Coating thicknesses are measurable and offer lifespans that can be easily forecast and relied upon.

Batch hot dip galvanizing is a standardized process which produces a quantifiable coating thickness. The coating is simply specified through British, European and international standards.

The coating thickness depends upon the gauge of the steel that is galvanized and is produced consistently across the axle. This can be measured easily throughout its lifetime, using non-destructive methods.

Galvanizing weathers in a predictable, linear fashion. This guarantees that if climactic conditions are stable, the lifespan of a galvanized coating can be correctly forecast, and there will be no unexpected surprises.

The lifespan of the coating is also exceptionally long compared with other forms of corrosion protection and will weather at less than one micron per year in certain climates. The local rate of weathering of any given galvanized coating can be reliably calculated.

4. Galvanizing Offers Complete Coverage

Hot dip galvanizing creates a very strong bond between zinc and steel, forming a coating that will last for generations. Alongside superior strength comes superior coverage, so that galvanized steel structures remain protected, even in their most vulnerable areas.

There are multiple reasons why hot dip galvanizing outperforms other organic coatings. A crucial factor is the way the process achieves complete coverage of an axle, both inside and out.

After an initial cleaning cycle, axles are prepped to cover stub ends and axles drilled. The axles are then immersed into molten Zinc, commonly at around 450°C. The rate of reaction is rapid and a typical time for immersion is only a few minutes.

When dipping of hollow steel into a tank of molten zinc it is important the axles have a pressure release hole. It also means the zinc can access even the trickiest areas.

5. Galvanizing is Tough

Galvanizing has an abrasion resistance up to ten times better than organic paint coatings. The hot dip process is unique, producing a coating which is bonded metallurgically to the steel. As a result, galvanized steel axles have superior resistance to mechanical damage during handling, storage, transport and assembly

Due to its unique metallurgical bond, a galvanized coating is incredibly tough, offering exceptional performance across multiple layers. An initial outer layer provides reliability as a buffer zone, helping to absorb any initial shock to the coating.

Underlying zinc-iron alloys can be harder than steel itself, and will further reduce any potential penetration of the coating or the exposure of bare steel. This means that a galvanized coating is highly chip resistant and particularly suited to areas of high frequency industrial wear like beneath your chassis.

A galvanized coating can also help prevent damage during assembly, where its toughness can protect axle during transport and installation.

Overall a galvanized coating has a high corrosion prevention value. It is extremely hard wearing, long-lived and suited to applications where both mechanical and corrosive protection are paramount.