Galvanized piping is steel pipes that have undergone the galvanization process which prevents the steel from aging and rusting. Galvanized pipes are premanufactured steel pipes dipped in molten zinc to protect it from the elements. Galvanized pipes come in various types, sizes and lengths. This product is used in underground piping, overground piping systems, industrial purposes, scientific experiments and other uses.
Steel is a ferrous metal, which makes it susceptible to corrosion and rust and, over time, the chemical breakdown of the metal object. Galvanization is the process by which steel is dipped into molten zinc in order to coat it with a nonrusting protective layer.
The zinc's temperature is around 850 degrees F and chemically bonds to the steel. Zinc deteriorates at a much slower rate than steel and is an affordable metal for galvanizing steep pipes and other items.
Galvanization has been around since the early 19th century. Many old structures and buildings are piped with galvanized piping for sewage and water transport. However, naturally occurring zinc is impure, and older galvanized pipes were bathed in zinc that also contained lead and other impurities. So, while galvanization was elongating the life of steel pipes, lead and other substances could potentially harm inhabitants. In 1986, Wheatland Tube Company set the precedent for galvanizing with pure zinc by meeting American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards.
The manufacturing of galvanized pipes occurs in two main processes: First, steel pipes are manufactured from raw materials, and then the pipes are galvanized in molten zinc. The finished product is a chemically bonded combination of steel pipes and zinc coating.
Manufacturers purchase raw steel products which are milled into steel strips, or sheets. The sheets are then rolled into pipes and the two ends are welded together. The number of times the sheet is rolled determines the size of the pipe. Next, these prefabricated pipes are dipped into molten zinc. The finished product is galvanized piping, which is resistant to corrosion.
Features and Benefits
Physically, galvanized steel pipes are slightly darker than steel pipes because of zinc's darker color. While galvanization doesn't directly strengthen already very strong steel, the zinc coating protects it from breaking down and eventually weakening. Because of this, galvanized steel is used from building skyscrapers to transporting water. Economically, galvanized steel pipes are inexpensive and recyclable.
A common misconception about galvanized pipe is that it taints and even poisons drinking water when used for transporting tap water. It is true that some minerals and chemical properties of drinking water will dissolve the zinc coating on steel pipes; however, they are in such small quantities as not to harm the human body. This fear is not ungrounded, however; the danger lies in lead piping, because lead can build up in the human body over time.