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Galvanization, or galvanisation, (or galvanizing as it is most commonly called in that industry), is the process of applying a protective zinc coating to steel or iron, to prevent rusting. The most common method is hot-dip galvanizing, in which parts are submerged in a bath of molten zinc.
Galvanizing protects in two ways: It forms a coating of corrosion-resistant zinc which prevents corrosive substances from reaching the more delicate part of the metal. The zinc serves as a sacrificial anode so that even if the coating is scratched, the exposed steel will still be protected by the remaining zinc. The zinc protects its base metal by corroding before iron, for better results application of chromates over zinc is also seen as an industrial trend.
The process was invented in India as early as at least the Iron Pillar constructed in Delhi during fourth century AD. The earliest known example of galvanizing of iron, encountered by Europeans is found on 17th-century Indian armor in the Royal Armouries Museum collection. It was named in English via French from the name of Italian scientist Luigi Galvani. Originally, galvanizing was the administration of electric shocks, in the 19th century also termed Faradism.
This sense is the origin of the meaning of the metaphorical use of the verb 'galvanize', as in 'galvanize into action', or to stimulate a complacent person or group to take action. The term galvanizing has largely come to be associated with zinc coatings, to the exclusion of other metals. Galvanic paint, a precursor to hot-dip galvanizing, was patented by Stanislas Sorel, of Paris in December, 1837