Zinc alloy is a combination of at least two metals, such as zinc and aluminum or zinc and copper. The resulting mixture has properties that are different from pure zinc or another component.
Zinc Alloy Benefits
The main benefits of zinc are that it has a relatively high melting point, good corrosion resistance, superior strength-to-weight ratio, low cost compared to other metals, and other characteristics that provide manufacturers with better ways to design products such as weight optimization.
Zinc alloys are very light and strong. According to Matmatch.com, zinc is the 4th most used metal in the world, behind aluminum, iron, and copper. Zinc alloys are found to be stronger than carbon steels, particularly in shear strength. Additionally, zinc alloys have non-magnetic properties.
This makes them ideal as structural support and load-bearing components in machines where magnets may interfere such as in medical devices or computer equipment.
Zinc (Zn) is used to make several alloys due to its galvanizing and sacrificial properties. It is historically alloyed with copper to make brass, which contains between 55% zinc and 95% copper.
Another major alloy of zinc is solder, which is formed in combination with lead and tin. Solder possesses a low melting point, therefore making it popular for joining electrical units and pipes.
Zinc is most widely applied for its galvanic properties by dipping or electroplating other metals with zinc's liquid form.
Advantages of zinc alloying:
- Cost efficient
- Abundantly available
- Corrosion resistant
- Easily galvanized
- Easily electroplated
Disadvantages of zinc alloying:
- Less aesthetically pleasing
- Lower strength
- Lower ductility
The commercial use of coated strip has been widened by two additional bath compositions. Galvalume is a highly corrosion-resistant alloy of 55 percent aluminum, 43.5 percent zinc, and 1.5 percent silicon that is used in cladding and roofing in industrial environments. Galfan is high-purity zinc containing 5 percent aluminum and 0.1 percent misch metal; steel coated with this alloy has high corrosion resistance and better formability than conventionally coated steel.
Continuously coated steel strip has growing application both in the cladding of industrial buildings and in car bodies. Some of this strip is coated on one side only, and electrogalvanizing (or zinc plating) is an alternative method of applying zinc when controlled thinner coatings are required. A continuous plating line, by depositing an electrocoat of zinc with 12 percent nickel, can provide the automobile industry with steel sheet that has high corrosion resistance and improved spot-welding capability.
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