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Read on and find out lots about the galvanizing process, its methods, its alloying. The information will be
informative to anyone who has an interest in the process, both as specifier, applicator or end product user.

Following a request by the engineering section of the KZN committee of the Institute we approached Terry Smith of the Hot Dip
Galvanizers Association to supply us with some information about whether pre-galvanized sheet was suitable for making cold formed
lipped purlins and girts to be used in a naturally corrosive environment such as Durban.

Terry has excelled himself in supplying us with a wealth of information comparing general or batch type hot dip galvanizing (galvanizing)
with continuous sheet hot dip galvanizing (pre-galv). The result is this and a following article in the next issue of Steel Construction.

Watch this space for the answer to the KZN question.

The use of a table to compare the various aspects, whilst it will take some concentration and studying for the reader, is in fact the
only practical way Terry (and us for that matter) could find to present the paper. Read on and find out lots about the galvanizing
process, its methods, its alloying. The information will be informative to anyone who has an interest in the process, both as specifier,
applicator or end product user.

Steel Construction Vol. 33 No. 1 January 2009 35




Specifications SANS 121 #1 SANS 3575 #2

local SANS 4998 #3

Specifications ISO 1461 ISO 3575

International ISO 4998

Coating grades None #4 Several, must be specified #5/#6

Coating Steel thickness Local coating Mean coating Coating Average mass of Individual mass of Min. coating
thickness #6 (mm) thickness (m) thickness (m) designation #7 coating coating thickness
on one face. (m)
t>= 6 70 85 Z200 200 170 9.7
3<= t <6 55 70 Z275 275 235 13.4
1.5<= t <3 45 55 Z450 450 385 22
t<1.5 35 45 Z600 600 510 29

Steel thickness Any steel thickness but preferably greater than 2.0 thick From 0.28 to 2.9mm thick. Note: The steel thickness is described by overall
particularly if not shaped or work-hardened. thickness including the applied zinc coating.

Smoothness and Relatively smooth, depending on steel type, complexity of Gas Knives (usually high pressure air) wipe off excess molten metal as the
acceptance of the component and dipping exit angle. Free from roughness and continuous sheet exits the zinc bath, leaving behind a closely controlled thickness
coating sharp points, particularly at pre-defined significant surfaces. of coating.

Ordering, Steel that has been hot dip galvanized by the general process The coating grade that has been specified may be difficult to assess in terms of
identification and is relatively easy to identify that it is in fact hot dip coating grade (and therefore coating thickness) on receipt at site in terms of
receipt at site. galvanized. Silver paint that may have been incorrectly used specification conformity. The specifications do not permit random coating thickness
for repair can easily be scrapped off. readings using a calibrated coating thickness instrument. They do provide a
reasonable idea of what the coating thickness is and hence the grade
delivered. The method required by the specification is described in #8.

NOTES, frequently asked questions and answers relating to the above:

#1 The full title of SANS 121is Hot dip galvanized coatings on fabricated iron and steel articles Specifications and test methods. There is however no similarity between the
international standard and the local standard. So, when in doubt it is recommended that both standard numbers be referenced, i.e. SANS121/ ISO 1461
#2 The full title of SANS 3575 is Continuous hot dip zinc coated carbon steel sheet of commercial, lock forming and drawing qualities.
#3 The full title of SANS 4998 is Continuous hot dip zinc coated carbon steel sheet of structural quality.
#4 For galvanized items can I specify a required thickness of coating?
You are limited to the standard thickness (default thickness per the spec) or a heavy duty thickness (25% thicker).
If you just call up the specification without comment you will get the standard thickness.
If you want a thicker or heavy duty coat? you must stipulate this
In terms of the SABS galvanizing mark scheme the heavy duty coat is allowable without compromising the standard.
However be warned... where steel chemical composition does not induce moderate to high reactivity, (such as in aluminium killed or non reactive steels), thicker
coatings are not always easily achieved.
It is not possible to achieve heavy-duty duty applications for item that are required to be centrifuged (bolts and others)
#5 For pre-galv items can I call up a required thickness of coating?
A number of coating designations are available in terms of SANS 3575 or 4998 from Z100 to Z700. Common coating designations are Z160 (only locally available), Z275, and Z600.
6# What is the common thickness grade most commonly used to SANS 3575 or 4998?
The most common coating grade is Z275 which in both specifications means a coating mass of 275g/m2 (based on a triple spot test but can be as low as 235g/m2 on a
single spot test). This equates to a nominal zinc coating thickness of about 20m with a minimum thickness of 13.4m.
Similarly, a Z600 would have a coating mass of 600g/m2 as a triple spot test but 510g/m2 on a single spot test. Not less than 29m as a single spot test should be
found on either surface.

36 Steel Construction Vol. 33 No. 1 January 2009


The equivalent thickness is calculated from the following formula:

Thickness in microns (m) = Mass per unit area, g/m2
(2 includes both sides and 7 is the approximate specific gravity of zinc)
Be warned: coating thickness readings taken by means of a calibrated electro-magnetic thickness gauge can only provide a good indication of coating thickness so
the method is not permitted by the specs.
To achieve accurate results for coating thickness samples of at least 2 000mm2 will be necessary for testing using the gravimetric method to ISO 1460. This method
only proves the overall mass of the coating and not the distribution.
#7 Listed coating designations are representative of the range. For the full range of coating designations, refer to SANS 3575/4998 as appropriate.
#8 What is the correct method of proving the mass of a coating?
Three specimens shall be cut, one from the mid-width position and one from each side not closer than 25mm to the side edge. Minimum specimen areas shall be
2 000mm2. The samples shall be subjected to chemical stripping (gravimetric) testing to ISO 1460.


Process Items that are fully fabricated, welded and cleaned are dipped Continuous sheeting is rapidly (100 to 140m/min) passed through a bath of
in a bath of molten zinc at about 450C and removed at a molten zinc at about 450C and as it exits the bath the sheeting travels through
relatively steep angle and slow speed. gas air knives that wipe off the excess coating, resulting in the coating thickness
designation that was specified.

Composition of the The coating comprises a series of iron/zinc (Fe/Zn) alloy The coating comprises mostly pure zinc with very little iron/zinc alloy layer
coating layers, normally over coated by a relatively pure zinc layer. (about 1 2 m), thus ensuring ductility.

Influences on Silicon and Phosphorus and combinations of these two Effectiveness of the gas knives.
coating thickness elements in the steel have a major effect on coating thickness
and appearance. Steel thickness and surface roughness also
have an effect on coating thickness.

Zinc melt 98.5% Zn, 1.2%Pb and about 0.007% max. Al. 99.95% Zn, 0.008%Pb and about 0.02% max Al.

Passivation Components quenched in water which contains a small Mill passivation: A chemical treatment is normally applied to zinc coatings to
percentage of sodium dichromate. Chrome 6 is not a friendly minimize the hazard of wet storage stain.
material and is being phased out. Mill phosphating: This is applied so that subsequent painting after normal cleaning
can be relatively easily achieved.
Oiling: This treatment method further prevents the formation of wet storage stain.

Testing adhesion Testing of adhesion is not necessary in accordance with In order to test the adhesion of a coating, a bend test and impact cupping test is
SANS 121. conducted. See #9

#9 Because of the formation of the iron/zinc alloy at the interface between the steel and the zinc it is not necessary to do an adhesion test for galvanized items.
For pre-galv material it is necessary to do bend tests. Samples are bent through 180 in either direction must not show flaking of the coating on the outside of
the bend. There are numerous rules relating to this test in the specs.

What is passivation and why is it done?

Primarily the process slows down the formation of white rust and so has it uses. White rust is zinc oxide and especially on pre-galv sheets
stored such that water can penetrate between the sheets resulting in the quick formation of white rust and as the zinc coat is thin the
ongoing process is for the base steel to quickly rust.

When is passivation not done?

If any paint system is to be applied to either galvanised steel or pre-galv sheets then the sodium dichromate solution should not be used
as the paint will not adhere properly. If the galvanised steel has been chromate passivated it is necessary to remove the layer before
applying paint.

Part 2 of the article will continue with a comparison of durability of the two systems (looking at the ISO 9223 corrosion categories for
the comparison), whether the product(s) can be altered, how defects should be repaired.

The answer to the KZN query will be quite obvious by the time you get to the end of the next article in the March 2009 Issue.

Steel Construction Vol. 33 No. 1 January 2009 37