(metallurgy) An electrochemical action that generates electrical current between two metals of dissimilar electrode potential.
GALVANIZED IRON, sheet iron having its surface covered with a thin coating of zinc. In spite of the name, galvanic action has often no part in the production of galvanized iron, which is prepared by dipping the iron, properly cleaned and pickled in acid, in a bath of molten zinc. The hotter the zinc the thinner the coating, but as a high temperature of the bath is attended with certain objections, it is a common practice to use a moderate temperature and clear off the excess of zinc by passing the plates between rollers.
In Norwood and Rogers's process a thin coating of tin is applied to the iron before it is dipped in the zinc, by putting the plates between layers of granulated tin in a wooden tank containing a dilute solution of stannous chloride, when tin is deposited on them by galvanic action.
If it be exposed to damp, to sea-water or to corrosive influences of any kind in contact with another metal, or if it be mixed with another metal so as to form an alloy which is not a true chemical compound, the other metal being highly negative to it, powerful galvanic action will be set up and the structure will quickly deteriorate.
The light copper alloys, in which the proportions just given are practically reversed, are of considerably less utility, for although they are fairly strong, they lack power to resist galvanic action.
Chemical reagents are sometimes added - lime or sulphuric acid, to neutralize an excess of acid or alkali; copper sulphate, to form cuprous chloride with sodium chloride; and iron and zinc, to make the galvanic action more energetic and reduce the consumption of iron.