In the construction industry, you will always want to find the best material for the job. One of the biggest debates in this industry is whether galvanised steel or stainless steel is the best material. The two may look the same at first glance but they are actually very different and which material you should use will depend on the application. This means that it is important to be aware of how these two materials differ so that you can always make the right decision when trying to decide between the two.
So, stainless steel or galvanised? Read on to find out eventing that you need to know.
Galvanised steel is regular steel which is dipped in a pool of molten zinc in a process known as hot-dipping. This adds a layer of zinc to the surface which is important because it provides a protective layer to the surface which will stop corrosion from occurring.
Despite this, galvanised steel is significantly weaker than stainless steel but this does make it the cheaper material. Additionally, the zinc coating will eventually wear away and if it is damaged it could suffer from rust. Although this can be a problem, any remaining zinc acts as a sacrificial anode which means that it can still protect exposed steel.
Stainless steel, meanwhile, is prepared by mixing regular steel with chromium when they are both in a molten state. The mixture hardens into a solid state as it cools when the composite is treated with acid which removes any impurities on the surface. The mixture with chromium means that stainless steel has a protective mixture which can prevent rusting for longer than galvanised steel which just has a protective layer.
Stainless steel is stronger than galvanised steel and retains anti-corrosive properties for longer but it is also much more expensive to purchase. This means that it is important to think about when to use this material over galvanised steel.
The best time to use galvanised steel over stainless steel is when there is minimal risk of damage to the metal. It is mainly used for smaller-budget projects and is often used for pipes, nuts, bolts, fasteners and in the manufacturing of air-conditioning equipment.
Due to the fact that stainless steel is more durable but more expensive than galvanised steel, you will see this material mainly used in larger and more expensive projects. It is regularly used in the construction of buildings, bridges, cars, railways, aeroplanes and hand tools. Stainless steel is also more resistant to salt so it is regularly used in coastal and marine environments too.
Galvanised steel and stainless steel may look similar when comparing the two materials but they are vastly different when it comes to preparation, composition, properties, strength and cost. It is essential that you are aware of what these differences are if you work in construction as this will help you to make the intelligent decision as to which material you should be using at different times.