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    January 11, 2022

    What is a Cold Galvanizing Compound?

    You need a long-term corrosion prevention solution for the project you're designing. It's critical you get a coating that's going to provide superior, time-tested protection. A quick trip to Google has brought hot-dip galvanizing to your attention, but the time and cost expenditure associated with outsourcing this process doesn't fit within the scope of your project.

    Enter cold galvanizing compounds — a much more accessible solution for corrosion prevention. A cold galvanizing compound is a high-quality solution that is perfect for touch-ups or full-scale project application. Read on for the essentials of this solution, and how it can transform your projects.

    A cold galvanizing compound has the characteristics of a paint, but it's not a paint. The biggest difference is the percentage of zinc present in the corrosion prevention coating.

    "Cold galvanizing compounds are a very high-end solution that set the gold standard of corrosion protection for iron and steel. If you want to protect a piece of steel from corrosion it's easy to use a cold galvanizing product because it's applied like a paint." - Matt Steele of ZRC Worldwide.

    In order to really understand what a cold galvanizing compound is, it's beneficial to know what hot-dip galvanizing is, since both are similar corrosion-prevention solutions.

    What is hot-dip galvanizing?

    Hot-dip galvanizing (HDG) is the process of coating fabricated steel by immersing it in a bath of molten zinc. There are three fundamental steps in the hot-dip galvanizing process:

    1. Surface Preparation
    2. Galvanizing
    3. Inspection

    Hot-dip galvanization happens in a manufacturing plant.

    How is cold galvanizing different than hot-dip?

    A cold galvanizing compound is a product that simulates the performance of hot-dip galvanizing. So what's the difference?

    • Hot-dip galvanizing needs to be applied in a controlled setting, like a manufacturing plant.
    • Cold galvanizing compounds can be applied, like a paint, out of a can and on-site.

    You might think: "can I just add zinc to my paint and apply it to the surface I'm protecting?" Well, no. Please don't do that.

    "In order to be a cold galvanizing compound you need an extremely high percentage of zinc dust in the dried film - greater than 92%. That's one of the secrets as to why the performance is equivalent to hot-dip galvanizing", Steven Collins of ZRC Worldwide explains.

    You can learn more about how cold galvanizing compounds protect metal and combat rust on ZRC's How It Works page, found here.

    What are the benefits of cold galvanizing and Zinc-Rich Coatings?

    ZRC Worldwide developed the technology behind zinc-rich coating and their application as corrosion prevention solutions. In simplest terms, the benefit of cold galvanizing compounds, in the form of zinc-rich coatings, as compared to hot-dip is proximity — you can apply cold galvanized compounds on site instead of instead of having to outsource the corrosion prevention process.

    There are only so many hot-dip galvanizing plants in the world.

    ZRC products provide an additional benefit of on-site application — yet they ship like paint cans. You achieve the same corrosion protection as hot-dip galvanizing, without the need to outsource your materials to a plant for the coating process to take place. Applying ZRC products is easy — they can be applied by aerosol, directly from the can using brushes and/or rollers, or by using readily-available spray equipment.

    The percentage of zinc present in the composition of the product allows for product features and performance to reach full corrosion-resistance equivalence of the hot-dip galvanization process. This is unique in that there is no other product in the market that does this.

    The outcome? A 100% zinc coating over your steel or iron surface that will prevent corrosion for years.

    [This illustration shows the difference between the true galvanic protection of ZRC® and Galvilite® and other types of coatings. The difference is made possible by ZRC's high zinc content (95% by weight in the dried film) of "ultra-pure" zinc dust (ASTM D520 Type III) and proprietary, non-encapsulating binder. This unique combination provides a self-healing galvanic film that is impossible for others to match. ]

    ZRC How it Works Graphics Updated_Main Infographic - Condensed

    What are cold galvanizing compounds used for?

    It's easy to see the benefits of cold galvanizing compounds in the form of zinc-rich coatings (ZRC). Some uses for the protections that cold galvanizing compounds provide include:

    • Protect steel structures, such as the railings of the Peace Bridge between Buffalo, NY and Fort Erie, Ontario.
    • Use zinc rich coatings on structural channel frames. For example, the Bank of America Building in San Francisco, the l.D.S. Center in Minneapolis, and the Republic Bank Tower in Dallas.
    Industrial Maintenance
    • Maintain structures and equipment both inside and outside industrial, petrochemical, and food processing plants with zinc rich coatings.
    • Prevent corrosion on the inside surfaces of water tanks like international manufacturers Leach Co. in Oshkosh, WI.
    Power Plants
    • Protect HVAC ductwork with zinc rich coatings. They have many applications in all phases of construction as attested by their role in preventing corrosion in nuclear power plants, worldwide.
    Offshore Marine Rigs
    • Protect above and below the water line.
    Transmission Towers
    • Use zinc-rich coatings as original protection for structural steel or for regalvanizing support cables.
    Water & Waste Plants
    • Protect steel in extremely hostile environments such as water and waste plants.

    Why might an architect design with cold galvanizing compounds in mind?

    When cold galvanizing technology in the form of zinc-rich coatings was first designed back in the early 1950s by ZRC Worldwide, it was considered to be just a touch-up product for hot-dip galvanizing.

    Since then, the products' high performance drove process refinement that enabled a more far-reaching scale: cold galvanizing compounds became the primary component of corrosion prevention for entire projects and were specified by product engineers in manufacturing processes as an in-plant method of galvanizing.

    Reasons for considering cold galvanizing compounds in your design process:

    • Gain an all-in-one solution for corrosion prevention
    • Save time and money on product ordering, shipment, and application
    • Change orders? No problem. Ship direct from ZRC or with the dealer locator tool
    • Eliminate expensive upkeep: the product has a significant lifespan in the proper conditions
    • Use time and money savings for other facets of your project

    "An architect's reputation can be on the line if an inferior product is used. It can cause corrosive failures, and those failures fall back on project decision-makers," Steele and Collins agree when discussing the drawbacks of using a different barrier coating or low percentage product rather than a cold galvanizing compound.

    Collins goes on to say, "It's a small detail that can cause some big problems if you use a subprime product in project design."

    What are the industry standards?

    ZRC Worldwide's cold galvanizing compound meets and exceeds the requirements of ASTM A780 for hot-dip galvanizing repair. According to the product specification: "Organic Zinc-Rich coating containing 95% metallic zinc, by weight in the dried film; recognized under the Component Program of Underwriter's Laboratories, Inc. as an equivalent to hot-dip galvanizing; conforming to Federal Specification DOD-P-21035A (formally MIL-P21035A) for repair of hot-dip galvanizing and meeting the requirements of Military Specification MIL-P-26915A USAF."

    "There are a lot of so-called cold galvanizing compounds in the market that don't have enough zinc in them to be electrically conductive and thus, galvanic" - Steve Collins of ZRC Worldwide.

    The Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP), formerly the Society for Protective Coatings, aims to regulate this. They offer a set of many standardizations, the most common of which for cold galvanized compounds is called SSPC Paint 20. You can learn more about AAMP standards, certification, and training on their website.

    What are wrong assumptions about cold galvanizing compounds?

    There are a lot of things that get misconstrued with cold galvanizing compounds.

    The biggest one? People think a cold galvanized compound is a normal paint that can be applied as such. After all, your earlier scan of the internet probably showed you pictures of corrosion solutions in a can. But since cold galvanizing products are not the paints they are so often mistaken for, they have to be applied properly to work as intended.

    Other misconceptions:

    • It needs to be cold? No —the terminology "cold galvanized" does not mean that it needs to be applied in a cold environment. A normal, temperate one will do just fine.
      • The language comes from ZRC Worldwide's creation in the 1950's as an alternative to its molten-zinc counterpart and has followed it to present day.
    • Just for small areas? No — cold galvanizing compounds can be used for the overall galvanization of structures and not just for touch-ups.
    • Should I be concerned about quality? Not with the right products. Many people have had poor experience with an inferior quality, zinc-rich product masquerading as a cold galvanized compound. As the creators of zinc coating technology, ZRC Worldwide has upheld the highest-end product quality in the industry for over 70 years. Learn more about the specifications that assure the quality of ZRC's products here.

    Choosing the right cold galvanizing product

    There are many products that service the varying needs of the corrosion prevention industry. Imitation is flattering, but the proof is in the paint. ZRC Worldwide created zinc coating technology as a hot-dip alternative to combat corrosion and has been a worldwide leader in the space for 70 years.

    Whether touching up an existing project or completing a full-sized job from scratch, our team will ensure you get the right product and the correct application method for your needs. With years of application knowledge, our customer service team will help ensure that your product application process is seamless.

    Find the product best suited for your needs here.

    Galvanic Corrosion Prevention Guide Everything you need to know about galvanic corrosion prevention