The destructive effects of corrosion on metals have been known for centuries. For almost as long as metals have been a construction material, humans have constantly sought ways to improve its longevity in corrosive environments. One of the most widely used techniques for protecting metals (mainly steel) is galvanizing.
In 1742, a chemist known as Melouin found that a zinc coating could be applied to iron by dipping it into molten zinc. This discovery triggered a wave of research throughout the scientific community and laid the foundation for galvanizing. In 1780, an Italian physicist, Luigi Galvani, the man for whom the process is named, observed that the contact between two dissimilar metals resulted in the flow of an electrical current. Over time, the understanding of galvanizing improved significantly, and by 1850, 10,000 tonnes of zinc was used annually by the British galvanizing industry for the protection of iron. This was the birth of an industry that continues to flourish to this day.
Galvanized steel plays an essential role in our everyday lives. It is frequently used in several sectors including construction, transportation, agriculture and power generation industries to name a few.