Zinc is Durable
One of zinc’s most exceptional qualities is its natural capacity to protect steel from corrosion. When left unprotected, steel will corrode in almost any environment. Zinc coatings protect steel by providing a physical barrier as well as cathodic protection for the underlying steel, allowing its service life to be extended indefinitely.
Damage caused by corrosion leads to costly and time consuming repairs and has been estimated to cost at least four percent of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). By protecting steel from corrosion, zinc performs an invaluable service. It helps to save natural resources by significantly prolonging the life of steel goods and capital investments, such as homes, cars, bridges, port facilities, power lines and water distribution, telecommunications and transport.
The long-term durability provided by galvanizing is achieved at relatively low environmental burden in terms of energy and other globally relevant impacts, especially when compared to the energy value of the steel it is protecting.
IZA’s Galvanized Autobody Partnership (GAP) has successfully made galvanized automotive steel more durable and corrosion resistant, more fuel efficient through reduced weight and more competitive against other materials due to these sustainability aspects. This success occurred through technical innovations resulting from the strong collaboration between IZA and the steel and automotive industries.
Numerous studies have shown the high economic and environmental costs associated with repeated maintenance painting of steel structures. These burdens can be significantly reduced by an initial investment in zinc-coated steel.
Lack of optimal corrosion protection can leave a damaging economic legacy of repeated maintenance costs. In social housing projects, future maintenance costs will be borne by the local authorities. In public infrastructure projects, use of galvanized steel leads to lower maintenance budgets, releasing public funds for other purposes.
For more information, please visit http://www.zinc.org/galvanizing.