Hot-dip galvanizing deposits a thick, robust layer of zinc iron alloys on the surface of a steel item.  The hot-dip process generally does not reduce strength on a measurable scale, with the exception of high-strength steels (>1100 MPa) where hydrogen embrittlement can become a problem. This deficiency is a consideration affecting the manufacture of wire rope and other highly-stressed products.

The protection provided by hot-dip galvanizing is insufficient for products that will be constantly exposed to corrosive materials such as acids, including acid rain in outdoor uses. For these applications, more expensive stainless steel is preferred.


Some rigging made today are galvanized. Nonetheless, electroplating is used on its own for many outdoor applications because it is cheaper than hot-dip zinc coating and looks good when new. Another reason not to use hot-dip zinc coating is that for bolts and nuts of size M10 (US 3/8″) or smaller, the thick hot-dipped coating fills in too much of the threads, which reduces strength (because the dimension of the steel prior to coating must be reduced for the fasteners to fit together). 



Thermal diffusion galvanizing, or Sherardizing, provides a zinc diffusion coating on iron- or copper-based materials. Parts and zinc powder are tumbled in a sealed rotating drum. Around 300 °C (572 °F), zinc will diffuse into the substrate to form a zinc alloy. The advance surface preparation of the goods can be carried out by shot blasting. The process is also known as “dry galvanizing”, because no liquids are involved; this can avoid possible problems caused by hydrogen embrittlement. The dull-grey crystal structure of the zinc diffusion coating has a good adhesion to paint, powder coatings, or rubber. It is a preferred method for coating small, complex-shaped metals, and for smoothing rough surfaces on items formed with sintered metal.



galvanization process



During the true galvanizing step of the process, the material is completely immersed in a bath of molten zinc. The bath chemistry is specified by ASTM B6, and requires at least 98% pure zinc maintained at 815-850 F (435-455 C).

While immersed in the kettle, the zinc reacts with the iron in the steel to form a series of metallurgically bonded zinc-iron intermetallic alloy layers, commonly topped by a layer of impact-resistant pure zinc.

Once the fabricated items’ coating growth is complete, it is withdrawn slowly from the galvanizing bath, and the excess zinc is removed by draining, vibrating, and/or centrifuging.

The metallurgical reaction will continue after the materials are withdrawn from the bath, as long as it remains near bath temperature. Galvanized articles are cooled either by immersion in a passivation solution or water or by being left in open air.