Enormous economic challenges in the 21st century have brought tremendous needs to utilize available limited resources in the most efficient and effective ways. The impacts of globalization, currency devaluation, inflation, environmental concerns as well as massive natural disasters are changing governance at all levels.
Technological advances have enabled new ways of deploying services in timely and cost effective means. It has become very apparent that governance must be very strategic and the capacity to adopt technologies that would save cost especially in the long term is vital. Innovative technological applications drive efficiency, productivity and aid to enhance the quality of lives of citizens.
This technology should be durable, environmentally friendly as well as cost competitive. Over the years, many governments have made decisions to build and expand their infrastructures in order to be competitive in tourism, transportation and other key areas of the economy. Regrettably, governments have been slow to adopt and implement techniques to protect these facilities from corrosion.
As governments continue to focus on expanding militaries and managing political systems, budgetary allocations for expanding national infrastructures like bridges, dams, airports are expected to decrease despite increased levels of operations. To ensure that these facilities operate at optimal levels since building new ones are not immediate, efforts should be geared to preserve them using the most efficient corrosion protection method. This certainly affects all major economies: from Africa to North America.
Corrosion causes both economic and environmental problems and adequate techniques should be used to control it in facilities to ensure maximal service to the citizens. Adopting the right technological solution to the hazards of corrosion will arguably extend the usefulness of these facilities as well as help the state to save money in the long run. This will ultimately benefit everyone especially the taxpayers.
Presently, commonly used public corrosion protection techniques are painting and plating. These techniques though partially effective are not state of the art. They fail to deliver long-term benefits, which taxpayers expect from their taxes. As an engineering student that has studied the effects of corrosion and how to minimize their impacts, I wish to suggest hot-dip galvanizing corrosion protection method as a technique of choice.
This method of corrosion protection is a method where a metal is used to “bath” the one that is being protected to form a bonded structure that prevents rust. It is a form of “chemical mechanical bathing” of the metal that enables the formation of metallic oxides that prevent corrosion. This corrosion protection technique has been proven to be reliable, cheap, and durable with less harm to the environment. The process of galvanizing (bathing a metal with metal to form oxides resistant to corrosion) from which hot dip galvanizing is made has existed for more than 250 years and has been a mainstay of the industry since the early 20th century. It is used in different manufacturing processes to produce steel with unmatched protection from the ravages of corrosion. From roofing nails to highway guardrail, to Brooklyn Bridges suspension and to NASA’s launch pad sound suppression systems, galvanizing has provided means to protect materials from corrosion successfully.
In addition, the main component of galvanizing, zinc is readily available- about 25th in the order of abundance from the earth crust. This component is a mineral that is essential for growth and development of nearly all life- both plant and animal. About 1.4 – 2.3 grams are found in average adult with a recommended intake of 15 grams advised by the World Health Organization (WHO). In different forms, zinc is beneficial to life and in the form of zinc oxide is used as a nutritional supplement. It is not harmful to the environment and does not pose any threat to human.
Besides, it is 100% recyclable with less energy required to process it for use in corrosion protection. It could serve as the ultimate material to protect our state’s structures in the parks, waterways, airports, etc. The following are few advantages of the hot dip galvanizing over other methods of protection from corrosion:
* Hot dip galvanizing enjoys a low initial cost advantage over many other corrosion protection techniques. In addition, it is less labor intensive compared with other corrosion protection methods.
* In rare cases where hot dip galvanizing has a higher initial cost than other corrosion protection techniques, it is more cost effective in the long term since it is durable with less maintenance needs. Because the protected materials are metallurgically bonded to the metal it protects, it offers superior resistance to abrasion and water and general mechanical damage in transport, erection and service.
* Hot dip galvanizing coatings enjoy a high life expectancy of up to 45 years even in severe coastal and urban environments. In addition, this life expectancy and performance of the protected metal are easily predictable.
* Hot dip galvanizing process is simple, straightforward and closely controllable. The coating thicknesses are regular, predictable and easily specifiable. This enables precision during usage and design resulting to quality results.
* Implementation of corrosive protection is readily faster with hot dip galvanizing thereby providing a way to reduce project time and government money. A fully galvanized protective coating can be applied in few hours compared to a proper four-coat painting that requires up to one week. Hot dip galvanizing does not require any further site preparation, painting or inspection. Once erected, cladding can begin immediately, thus accelerating the construction program.
* Inspection of hot dip galvanized coatings are assessed readily by eye, and simple non-destructive thickness testing methods can be used without the complexity usually used in other protection techniques. This could save money for government as well as provide an easy means for contingency planning.
* The protection offered by hot dip galvanizing is complete since all parts of the materials are protected, including recesses, sharp corners and inaccessible areas. This is because the material when dipped in molten zinc is completely covered – inside and out – including awkward corners and narrow gaps. No coating applied to a structure or fabrication after completion can provide the same protection as hot dip galvanizing.
In summary, hot dip galvanizing offers public utilizes across the globe a more strategic option to protect the state’s infrastructures. Compared with other corrosion protection techniques, which are presently being combined with it to protect the state’s facilities, it is less laborious both in implementation, maintenance and inspection. In the long run, it would offer better returns on investments through its long-term cost competitiveness and durability. Hot dip galvanized materials are harmless to both human and environment and should be the method of choice over paints, which contain dangerous chemical components, in corrosion protection in our parks and public places. Adoption of this state of the art corrosion protection technique would be for the best interest of taxpayers because it would provide far better value than any other technique.