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We apply a layer of zinc to prevent steel, iron and other metallic materials from rusting this process is called galvanization.
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Zinc coatings for iron and steel provide excellent corrosion resistance in most atmospheres, in hard fresh waters, and in contact with many natural and synthetic substances. Zinc coatings are widely used to protect finished products ranging from structural steelwork for buildings and bridges, to nuts, bolts, strip, sheet, wire and tube. The electrochemical relationship between zinc and steel enables zinc coatings also to protect steel at cut edges and at breaks in the coating by a sacrificial action.

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nearly right but its main work is to prevent rusting
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