What is Galvanization?
Most metals rust and corrode; it's a fact of life. In order to protect the metal from the elements and to prevent the rusting and corroding, many lamp and sign posts undergo a process called "galvanization" or "galvanizing", as it is often referred to in the metal fabrication industry.
Galvanizing is a widely used and cost-effective way to prevent corrosion of the base metal.
How Does Galvanizing Work?
When metal is galvanized, a thin layer of zinc coats it, providing a physical, protective layer against water, moisture, and other elements in the air that cause metal corrosion. Electrochemically, the zinc becomes the first to corrode and makes the base metal corrode much slower.
How is Metal Galvanized?
There are three main ways to galvanize metal.
- The most common and economical method of galvanizing is called "Hot-Dip Galvanizing", wherein the base metal is dipped into molten zinc after the base metal is cleaned, then "fluxed" to remove any remaining oxides. This method, however, may result in inconsistent coating compared to the other processes. Apart from cost-effectiveness, hot-dip galvanizing is popular because if its durability, versatility, availability, and sustainability.
- "Pre-galvanizing" involves cleaning rolling metal sheets, running them through molten zinc, and then recoiling the metal sheets. This process results in a more uniform coating, but when the metal goes on to the fabrication stage, there may end up being uncoated areas - where the metal is cut, for example.
- Instead of the metal going through a molten zinc bath, "Electrogalvanizing" uses an electrical current to deposit zinc onto the metal, usually rolls of sheet metal, like the pre-galvanizing process. Electogalvanizing gives a nice, uniform coating and thickness, but the actual zinc coating is usually thinner than what you would get out of the hot-dip galvanizing method, meaning that the metal may have less corrosion protection.
Galvanizing for Good
The American Galvanizers Association, the non-profit trade association, runs a global program for students to create galvanized steel wheelchair ramps for injured veterans. Called "Ascension", the design contest phase of the program has finished - and the winning designs appear on the AGA website, and the continuing challenge is to build adaptable and lightweight ramps, either with the designs provided or with a new design. To find out more about the program, click here.
Crafty Uses for Galvanized Posts
You see galvanized posts on the street all the time - they support signs, chain link fences, and serve as lamp posts. With a little creativity, however, you can use galvanized posts in a number of neat projects, or reuse galvanized posts - if you're replacing your fence, for example, and are left with the posts.
- Use the post for a tether ball for your kids. Get them off the iPad and show them how fun being outdoors can be!
- Turn the post into a giant ruler for measuring toddlers' heights as they grow. You can always mark different heights by tying differently colored strings to the pole. You could even have it indicate the height at which the kids can ride the "big person's rides" at the fair.
- If you have a big garden, have a "craft" day and make a cool scarecrow for the garden. Not only is this a fun, non-Internet related way to have some family time, but you end up with a very cool, unique piece of backyard decor.
- Another awesome garden-related use for galvanized posts is to put them in a row and use stringing material to create rows to support beans, tomatoes, etc.
- Attach a tarp for a tent like rain cover or shade or even make a "fence" with string at the bottom of a tree house.
- For a more decorative way to mark off the patio or garden, use beaded string or have bead accents on the stringing material - or make clothespin butterflies to attach to the string.
Of course, you could always use galvanized sign posts as...sign posts, and have a personalized, fun sign on your front yard - something like, "No melodrama allowed" or "Beware of Attack Squirrel" or "Raccoon Crossing". You'll find galvanized posts, brackets, and custom signs in our catalog - or contact us for more information.