Author: Lenser Aghalovyan
Hot-dip galvanized steel is one of the most used materials in equipment and metallic structures of the Brazilian electric sector. Although carbon steel is the main substrate in the galvanizing hot-dip process, recently, weathering steel has been used as an alternative material to be galvanized. In the transmission line segment of the Brazilian electric sector, for instance, compact towers made of galvanized weathering steel have been installed to conduct energy through urban sites. It is well known that weathering steel, depending on wet and dry cycles and on the pollutants present in the atmosphere, develops a protective patina made of its corrosion products. The patina is dense and strongly adhered to the substrate, blocking the active surface and, thus, reducing the corrosion rate of the base metal. However, when the weathering steel is galvanized, the substrate surface has a layer of zinc and zinc-iron intermetallic alloys. When the sacrificial layer is consumed by atmospheric corrosion, critical questions remain to be answered regarding the underlying substrate. Will the patina of weathering steel be formed? In what condition? Does the hot-dip galvanizing process modify the weathering steel microstructure? The present work carried out an experimental research to shed light on the anticorrosive behavior of hot-dip galvanized weathering steel, after the zinc layer is corroded. This was done by a controlled pickling process, where the zinc layer was removed simulating its consumption during real corrosion processes. The results, obtained through electrochemical techniques and different accelerated corrosion tests, showed that galvanizing weathering steel is a promising technology to enhance the lifetime of structures used in the Brazilian electric sector.
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