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Failure analysis of corroded

galvanized steel components for

construction applications
Dr. Srikant Gollapudi
IIT Bhubaneswar

• Drywalls and false ceilings are emerging as an alternate to conventional shear

walls and concrete ceilings
• These walls and ceilings use metal channels and studs for strength and stiffness
Typical metal components

Plain Patterned
The patterns or knurling of the surface provides good gripping to the
screws during screw fastening and increases the screw pull-out strength

Process of Patterning of the metal components

❖ The inter-penetrating cylindrical punches create the knurled structure.

❖ The knurled structure on account of the cold working is stronger than the
original coil of galvanized steel
Top view of the patterned surface



Da and Db are the spacing between the knurl tips


Major customer complaints from a big project in Mumbai

located close to a chemical fertilizer company

Problem of red rusting observed in most of the

installed structural components

• Application of a zinc spray is only a

stop gap arrangement

• The root cause of red rusting had to

be understood

A systematic approach to solving the

problem was required

Cause of
red rusting

Galvanized Influence
Steel of knurling

Is it as per Non-
Quality Coastal
spec coastal
Understanding the
effect of location


Chennai Red rusting was mainly observed

in the coastal area and primarily
in the Mumbai area

Who is supplying the galvanized


Is the galvanized steel as per the

technical specification?

Galvanized steel

Is the galvanized steel being

stored and handled properly
at the knurling site?

Is the galvanized steel being

knurled properly?

o Are the speeds of knurling and

spacing between the knurl tips Knurled component
as per the specification

Source of Source of the

galvanized steel knurled components
• A • X
• B • Y
• C • Z

AX, AY, AZ, BX, BY………

Nine possible combinations to be considered and
evaluated to find out the root cause of failure
ANALYSIS (of galvanized steel)
Quality parameters
• The galvanized steel supplied by the companies A, B
and C is generally accompanied by quality certificates
• These quality certificates are usually developed to
check the compliance of the material with Indian
• For coating quality the Indian standard under
discussion is IS 277 (2003)
• For the grade of steel, the Indian standard is IS 513
ANALYSIS (of galvanized steel)

Specification of Specification of
steel (IS 513) coating (IS 277)
• Yield strength (YS) • gsm
• Ultimate tensile • Chemistry of the
strength (UTS) coating *
• Elongation • Spangle size
• Chemical • Bend testing

* IS 209
ANALYSIS (quality certificates of the steel)

Analysis of the QC of the steel supplied by A, B and C

showed that they were in line with IS 513 specification
ANALYSIS (QC of galvanized steel)
IS 277 specification
Parameter Value desired as per IS 277
gsm 120
Bend test 3t test, No peeling or cracking
of coating
Freedom from defects No defects must be present on
visual examination
Thickness 0.18 to 0.3 mm
Spangles Regular/ Zero
• Analysis of the QC of galvanized steel showed that
information on spangle size and chemistry of coating was

• Does the gsm of the coating change after knurling?

ANALYSIS (What are spangles)
• Spangles
– Regular
– Coarse
• Spangle is the appearance of tiny
triangular and/ or flower shaped
crystals on the outer surface of the
galvanized coating
• The formation of spangles is
dependent on the presence of lead/
antimony The spangles are usually
• Lead / antimony reduces the viscosity desired for aesthetic purposes
of zinc and allows the molten zinc to
flow easily during hot dip galvanizing
and prevents runs / drips
ANALYSIS (allowed quantity of impurities)
• The different impurities in Zinc and their allowed quantities

Lead forms a galvanic couple with zinc and promotes corrosion of zinc
Lower the lead quantity the better the corrosion resistance
ANALYSIS (gsm of the knurled components)
• gsm analysis as per IS 6745
– Dissolve 32 g of antimony chloride in 1000 ml of
concentrated hydrochloric acid
– Immediately before the test, add 5 ml of the above
solution to 100 ml of concentrated hydrochloric acid and
mix well
– Immerse clean galvanized steel test piece of known
weight into the solution.
– The test piece is taken out when evolution of hydrogen
– The gsm is given by the following relation
M= M1 – M2 X 10 6

• g/m 2 of the surface

M = Mass of zinc coating in A
• M1 = Original mass in g of the test piece
• M2 = Mass in g of the stripped test piece
• A = Coated area of the original test piece in mm2
ANALYSIS ( lead content of knurled component)
• Lead content analysis
– The ICP-OES technique was adopted for
evaluating the lead content of the zinc
– The solution used for the ICP-OES
technique was the same as that used for
gsm analysis
– The lead content was recorded in ppm
– The IS 209 recommends a maximum lead
content of 0.003 % for Zn of 99.99 %
grade and a maximum lead content of
0.025 wt.% for Zn of 99.95 % grade
250 ppm is the maximum allowed lead concentration
ANALYSIS ( knurl tip spacing)



Da and Db are the spacing between the knurl tips

Knurl tip spacing evaluated using optical microscope

ANALYSIS ( of all knurled samples)
Knurled Lead quantity Spangle size gsm Knurl
component tip
CZ Good Poor What is the effect on red rusting?
ANALYSIS ( Salt Spray Testing)
• Salt spray test
• The Q-FOG salt spray test chamber was used for
evaluating the corrosion resistance of the galvanized
steel components
• Testing was carried out as per ASTM B 117
• The samples were periodically evaluated to check for
red rusting
ANALYSIS ( Red rusting behavior)
• Knurled components made from galvanized steel B
were found to bear poor corrosion performance as
found from the time to red rust. The galvanized steel
B developed red rust within 250 hours

• The knurled components made from galvanized steel

from A and C provided time to red rust higher than
250 hours.

Samples A, C Samples B
• A systematic approach was undertaken to
understand the causes of red rusting in
galvanized steel components
• The key parameters influencing corrosion
– Lead content
– Spangle size
– Gsm
• Knurled components made from galvanized steel
B had
– lead content above allowed limits
– large spangle size
• Knurled components from galvanized steel B
were more prone to red rusting