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As a base metal, zinc is primarily used to galvanize steel, a process that protects the metal against unwanted corrosion. Alloys of zinc, including brass, are vital to a wide range of applications, from corrosion-resistant marine components to musical instruments.

Research shows that zinc corrodes about 30 times more slowly than steel. Because it corrodes more slowly than steel, zinc can withstand harsh environments without degrading.

Another reason zinc is used in so many alloys is because of galvanization Galvanization, of course, is a finishing process that involves the application of a protective layer — typically zinc — over an existing workpiece. It’s designed to protect workpieces from corrosion. There are several types of galvanization processes, the most common of which is the hot-tip method. Hot-tip galvanizing involves submerging a workpiece in a bath of molten zinc. Once coated, the workpiece is cooled, thereby hardening the zinc. The newly created zinc layer acts as a shield to protect the workpiece from oxygen and moisture, which could otherwise cause it to rust.