Is Galvanized Steel Magnetic?


When it comes to getting the right equipment for fishing, you need to know what each potential piece of your kit can do to a fish. After all, it makes no sense to make you’re catching more difficult, or for a fish to suffer.

Is Galvanized Steel Magnetic?

This has led to several questions about some of the materials used when it comes to fish, both for catching and holding fish in tanks.

One of the recent materials that have been making waves in the world of fishing is galvanized steel. This newer compound version of steel has been used in many other industries for a while now and has slowly been making its way into a few other markets, from manufacturing to fishing.

Galvanized steel, also known as stainless steel, has been used mostly as a material to construct fish tanks with, as well as occasionally as a material to use in fishhook manufacturing.

With this newer material, many people have a few questions about it, from what exactly it is, to how it is made, to whether or not it has magnetic properties, like iron and steel.

Well, not only are we going to show you which types of galvanized steel are magnetic, but we’re also going to show you why!

What Is Galvanized Steel?

So, before we start explaining why or how explaining galvanized is magnetic, we should probably first explain what exactly it is, and how it is manufactured in the first place.

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And a part of that is explaining what exactly galvanization is!

What Is Galvanization?

Galvanization is the process of making a metal or other material, usually steel, resistant to both corrosion and rust, two effects that can affect a range of metals, most notably steel and other ferrous metals.

Galvanization Process

One of the most common methods of galvanizing steel is what is known as hot-dip galvanization, where a chosen piece of steel (that has been cleaned) is dipped into a vat of molten zinc.

Is Galvanized Steel Magnetic (1)

During this process, as the molten zinc cools, it loses its electrons to the steel underneath, binding to it and becoming what is known as a sacrificial cathode.

How Galvanization Protects Against Corrosion

So, once the process has finished, how does galvanization protect against rusting and other corrosive effects?

Well, what causes metals like steel to corrode is how the atoms of the metal slowly bond to the oxygen found in the air.

Galvanization avoids this issue by allowing the zinc to bond with the oxygen in the air, protecting the steel metal from corrosion.

Not only that, but the zinc that bonds to the steel can also survive chemicals and liquids and other effects that would otherwise damage untreated steel, such as moisture and water.

However, zinc is a non-ferrous material, meaning that it as an element contains no iron, and is also, therefore, not magnetic in any way.

So, how does that affect the steel underneath their galvanized coating?

Steel As A Magnetic Substance

It is a widely known fact that steel is naturally magnetic, thanks to the high amount of iron that makes up a portion of this widely used alloy.

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Anyone with a fridge (which is usually made from steel) will tell you that steel is a pretty magnetic material!

Steel, as well as the iron that it comes from, are also excellent conductors of electricity, which is why they are used so much in large-scale projects, such as hydroelectricity generation and lightning rods.

Needless to say, these two qualities, being magnetic, as well as being highly conductive, are things that steel is best known for.

Why Is Galvanized Steel Magnetic?

So, how does this impact steel being magnetic when it is galvanized?

Well, the answer is a little tricky when coming up with a simple and clean response. Some galvanized steel can be magnetic, whilst others are not, usually due to how the steel has been worked after the galvanization process has happened

In terms of magnetic quality, galvanized steel generally falls into two categories:

  • Martensitic stainless steels.
  • Austenitic stainless steel

Martensitic use several other metals to help prevent corrosion from forming in the material, such as very trace amounts of nickel (less than 0.5%), as well as a decent amount of chromium (anywhere from 12 to 17%).

However, despite these extra materials being added to galvanized steel, they do not interfere with the microstructure of the iron atoms within the steel.

It is this microstructure that gives almost all iron-based magnetic properties, and because it is maintained in these types of galvanized steel, they keep their magnetic properties.

Austenitic stainless steel, meanwhile, is made from a different compound of materials, usually because they are built for different purposes.

Many types of this galvanized steel are made to become resistant to corrosion from acids and other chemicals, so are made from a combination of iron and molybdenum.

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Arrangements like these disrupt the microstructure that steel and other galvanized steels have, causing them to lose the magnetic properties they otherwise had.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take Steel To Corrode Or Rust?

This will largely depend on the type of steel that you have, and how it has been maintained or cleaned. It’s also why maintenance of any steel items or tools you have is essential.

Generally speaking, steel that is left untreated will start to show signs of rusting or corrosion in just 3 to 4 days.

By contrast, not only will galvanized or stainless steel takes longer to show signs of corrosion, but it will be less damaging to your items as well.

What Uses Are There For Non-Magnetic Galvanized Steel?

Non-magnetic galvanized steel is used in many settings where the magnetic qualities of steel may be detrimental, such as in almost all MRI machines.

It is also often used in many types of metal culinary tools, such as pots, pans, woks, and cutlery.

Final Thoughts

So, while some galvanized steels aren’t magnetic, there are also plenty out there that do have this signature quality.

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Magnet Fishing Adventure

Anthony is passionate about magnet fishing. He likes to go out magnet fishing with his friends. On this site he shares his knowledge, experience, and details about magnet fishing gear and research with you.

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