Water & Marine
Some of the harshest conditions for any metal is submerged in or near water – whether fresh water or sea water. Steel and zinc are no exceptions. However, hot-dip galvanized steel has been successfully used in both fresh and sea water exposure for decades on dams, docks, piers, and even the harsh conditions of water treatment facilities.
The corrosion of zinc in water is a complex process, controlled by a number of different factors including pH, temperature, and motion among others. The movement of water and varied content/conditions make predicting the life of galvanized steel in any water condition difficult. There are a few known trends, such as hard water is less corrosive to zinc than soft water, and cooler sea waters are less corrosive than warmer sea waters. This is primarily due to the zinc’s ability to form passive compounds on the surface in both hard water and cooler sea water.
In addition to providing durability and extending longevity for steel along the waterfront and/or submerged; the natural zinc coating is not harmful to aquatic life. Sustainability is a growing trend and important for future generations’ quality of life – and water is expected to become a coveted, vital resource in the future. It is important to ensure what we do to our water today does not harm the precious resource in the future. Utilizing hot-dip galvanized steel ensures only zinc, which already exists naturally in the water, is being introduced to the environment rather than man-made chemicals or other pollutants.
According to ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, most of the water infrastructure – dams, drinking water, inland waterways, levees, ports, and water treatment – are in serious need of repair and upgrading. It is important to learn lessons from past mistakes and build these systems with better materials and more thought about life-cycle performance and cost. Hot-dip galvanized steel provides the durability, longevity, and cost effectiveness to improve the water infrastructure now and in the future.
Water & Marine Case Study
Calipso Water Park- Limonges, ON; 2009
Branching upward like a metallic grove of trees across the grounds of the Calipso Water Park, the hot-dip galvanized support structures and stairwells allow visitors to the park to rest easy in the safety and stability of the parks slides and rides. In an environment constantly assaulted by the corrosive effects of water and chemicals, galvanized steel is the perfect solution to protect structural steel from damaging and unsafe corrosion. Galvanizing not only protects the steel from the point of view of structural integrity and safety, but also, it provides a long-term appearance free of visible rust spots.