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  • Rafiqul Sumon



ZINGA® is a one component zinc rich coating or Film Galvanizing System containing 96% zinc (dust) in its dry film. It is a metallic coating and not a paint. The purity of the zinc used, is so high that dry ZINGA does not contain any toxic elements.


ZINGA® is a unique form of corrosion protection because it provides both Active and Passive protection in a form that’s as easy to apply as a paint.


ZINGA® was originally invented at the University of Ghent (UGent), Belgium, in the 1970s and has since been used in a wide variety of projects throughout the world.


ZINGA® is an active zinc performance coating which works in conjunction with the metal beneath, whereas paints are only passive barriers. Regardless of how thick paints are applied, they remain as barriers. Once they are breached, corrosion sets in immediately. Despite this significant difference ZINGA® is still often mistaken for a paint simply because it’s liquid and comes in a tin. But there are other more subtle differences. For example it does not “skin over” in the tin because ZINGA® has an unlimited pot-life and it doesn’t go “tacky” like a paint.







When two different metals come in contact with each other in presence of an electrolyte (e.g. water), they form a galvanic cell in which the lesser noble metal (e.g. Zn) corrodes in favor of the more noble metal (e.g. steel). This electrochemical reaction is the base for the complex field that is galvanic, cathodic protection, or active protection.


Galvanic, cathodic protection, or active protection, arises from zinc (the anode) sacrificing itself in favor of the base metal -steel (the cathode) with the resulting flow of electrons preventing steel corrosion. In this way the protection of the metal is guaranteed, even when the zinc layer is slightly damaged.


Other well-established methods of cathodic protection include hot-dip galvanizing (HDG) and zinc thermal spraying, both of which exhibit a constant sacrificial rate of the zinc layer.






With ZINGA® the sacrificial rate reduces dramatically after the zinc layer has oxidized and the natural porosity has been filled with zinc salts. Additionally the zinc particles within the ZINGA® layer are protected by the organic binder without adversely affecting the electrical conductivity. This enables ZINGA® to create nearly the same galvanic potential between the zinc and the steel as hot dip galvanizing but with a lower rate of zinc loss because, put simply, the binder acts as a “corrosion inhibitor” to the zinc.



If the ZINGA® layer is sufficiently damaged to expose the base metal below, the steel would form a layer of surface rust but no corrosion would take place beneath it. In other words, if the surface discoloration was removed, the steel below would not be pitted or eroded. This is called “throw” or “throwing power” and enables ZINGA® to protect bare metal up to 3 - 5 mm away from where the coating ends - slightly less than new HDG. Zinc sacrificial anodes used on the steel hulls of boats below the waterline work on the same principle to protect metal in the surrounding area. ZINGA® is simply a different form of these anodes and is therefore sometimes referred to as a liquid anode or sheet anode when used in immersed conditions.



The ability of zinc to provide galvanic protection is a function of its mass per given area. Dry ZINGA® contains a minimum of 96% medicinal quality zinc by weight, the particles of which are significantly smaller and purer than those found in normal “zinc rich” coatings. The ZINGA® particles’ small size and elliptical profile ensure maximum contact between both the individual particles and the substrate. This greater density of active zinc per given area combined with the good conductivity of the layer ensures that charge flows through every millimeter that has been coated and therefore provides excellent cathodic protection.




Passive protection, as provided by paints and cladding, creates a “barrier” between the steel substrate and the elements. Once this barrier is compromised, the moisture and atmospheric salts will be able to start corroding the steel beneath the damaged area. This corrosion will then begin to creep extensively beneath the coating.


With ZINGA®, the organic binder and the zinc oxide layer that forms on the surface create an impervious barrier by blocking the zinc’s natural porosity with oxide particles. Unlike other passive coatings, once breached, the zinc oxide layer simply renews itself by re-oxidizing. This layer of oxides is the reason behind the matt appearance of ZINGA® as opposed to the shiny hot-dipped finish.








ZINGA® provides comparable protection to conventional galvanizing without the need for topcoats. Although ZINGA® is only available in grey (the natural color if zinc), the significant advantage of this form of application is that the ZINGA® layer can be re-located at any point in the future with the bare minimum of preparation and without compromising the integrity of the coating (see Re-charging of ZINGA®). ZINGA® on its own is often used, because the structure is already on site or too big for the molten zinc baths. Additionally ZINGA® is commonly specified on delicate structures (wrought iron gates, sculptures) or when architectural demands require a higher standard of surface finish (no need to drill to de-gas, fettle).



For optimal protection, ZINGA® should be applied in two layers of 60µ or 90µ DFT each.




Not everybody likes the color grey and with the additional protection of a compatible topcoat, the coating durability offered significantly increases. ZINGA® does not even have to start working actively until the topcoat has been compromised and with no underlying corrosion creep or rust bubbling, the topcoat itself inevitably lasts longer.


In a duplex system (Active + Passive), ZINGA® should be applied in one layer of minimum 60µ to 80µ DFT.


For more information and application instructions, see Overcoating ZINGA®.




At 30µ-40µ DFT, ZINGA® can be used as a shop premier. The bid benefit is found in the fact that the steel structures do not require reblasting before coating if ZINGA® is applied as a shop premier. The steel structure can be overcoated with ZINGA® to obtain a cathodic protection or with any other paint without the need for reblasting.


Zinganized steel structures can be welded and bent during assembly.




This method is probably the most common use of ZINGA® as it requires the simplest surface preparation. ZINGA®’s mechanism of protection is so similar to conventional galvanizing that they work in complete unison, as they are merely different forms of zinc. Rather than replacing galvanized assets, structures can simply have their protection “re-charged” by applying ZINGA® to the rough surface of the old galvanizing after appropriate decontamination of the surface and removal of the salts.





Widely used in countries where the available concrete can be of less quality, Zinganizing the steel re-bars before assembly and immersion in concrete ensures vastly increased protection from corrosion without reducing the pull-out strength of the bars. Recent tests in three independent laboratories in Belgium showed that ZINGA® had at least twice the corrosion protection of either galvanized or epoxy coated re-bars.











Once thoroughly mixed, ZINGA® can be applied by using a normal paintbrush, a short-fiber roller (not for the first coat) or a conventional or airless spray-gun.


ZINGA® can be applied in a wide variety of weather conditions. The application surface temperature range is from 15ᵒC to +40ᵒC where conditions allow with a maximum humidity of 95% so long as the dew point is 3ᵒC minimum above the steel temperature. Like all coatings the substrate surface should be free from all types of contamination.



Working under ambient temperatures, ensures no deformation of the steel structure (which can happen in the hot dip galvanization process) or energy loss.




ZINGA® has one of the fasted drying times in the coating industry. It is touch dry in around 10 minutes at 20ᵒC (40µ DFT). ZINGA® can be recoated with a new layer of ZINGA® 1 hour after touch dry (by pistol, after 2 hours by brush), and with other paints 6 to 24 hours after touch dry.


This benefit allows fast system applications, and consequently shorter application times, dry dock times (for ships), less man hours and shorter close down time of structures.


Since the cost of equipment, personnel and cost through economical loss due to nonfunctioning of the structures is the highest of a coating project, this means ZINGA® can be an immense cost saving.




ZINGA® contains so much Zinc in its dry film, it does not form a closed film. In fact, ZINGA® is porous. This is because the pigment volume concentration (for ZINGA® = the concentration of Zinc), surpasses the critical pigment volume concentration of a coating.


This means that not every zinc particle is surrounded with binder completely, therefore allowing good contact between the zinc particles and consequently good electrical conductivity (which ensures cathodic protection).












Therefore, ZINGA® is not a paint and doea not behave like a paint. When a paint is damaged, it will cause a layer of paint to “chip off”. Also when damaged with a hammer, a paint will suffer from the impact which causes severe stress on the binder of the paint causing the paint to show cracks. These cracks are the weak part of the paint through which moisture and water can seep leaving the steel exposed to the environment and rusting occers.


ZINGA® does not act like that, it acts more like the steel below; when impacted with a hammer, the Zinc is merely pushed away, bending along with the steel.


Therefore, ZINGA® can also be bent with the steel to a certain extent.




One of the most decisive advantages of ZINGA® is that it can be recharged. Each new layer of ZINGA® makes the former layer liquid, so as to form a new homogenous ZINGA® layer. There is no risk for accumulation of layers that are different in structure, which could cause peeling off. The surface preparation before recharging is reduced to a minimum: you only need to remove the Zinc salts of the surface. Depending on the age of the ZINGA® layer, and environmental conditions, this can be performed with a water wash, preferably by steam-cleaning at 150 bars at 80ᵒC or by sweep blasting (very light blast).


This property of recharging can be of use if you steel have to do some drilling or welding on the surface, or if the structures still have to be transported. In that case the first layer is meant as a premier. It can intercept severe damages. Afterwards the final layer of ZINGA® can be applied and local damages can be repaired. The welding seams need to be cleaned beforehand. When there is no need to recoat the whole structure, you can apply a small quantity of ZINGA® on the damaged spots and the whole structure is free from rust again. Repairs will be invisible after a certain time.
















The following microscopic photos demonstrate the total integration of multiple layers of ZINGA®:





A thin film of copper dust was applied on top of the first coating of ZINGA®.

Seven days later after second coating of ZINGA® as applied on top of the copper dust. It can be clearly seen that the gold dust has mixed completely within the two ZINGA® layers.

The same test was done with a typical “zinc-rich” paint. The copper film remains intact between the two coats demonstrating that they remain as separate layers.




If ZINGA® is used as part of a duplex system i.e. it is overcoated with a compatible paint system, the topcoat provides the initial barrier to the elements, but the zinc oxide will still form a secondary barrier if the outermost layer is compromised in any way. As the paint topcoat naturally begins to break down and becomes porous over time, the ZINGA® fills the pores from below with zinc oxides enabling the top coat to last longer. Additionally, ZINGA® does not even start to sacrifice itself until the topcoat has become damaged to the point where it is exposing the bare zinc to the elements. It is because of this that we can state that the service-life of a duplex system can be 50% more than the sum of the individual lives of ZINGA® and the paint topcoat when added together.



Always strictly adhere to the appropriate specifications provided by the topcoat manufacturers in conjunction with ZINGA®. Although ZINGA® can be easily overcoated with a wide range of topcoats, it should be noted that when using epoxies etc. that ZINGA® is sensitive to solvents and all the necessary precautions should be taken to minimize its exposure to any solvents contained in the topcoats.


The use of the “mist-coat/full-coat” technique is vital and mandatory to prevent this from happening. For more information, please see “mist/full coat”.





Paint manufacturers will often specify a particular individual primer / topcoat systems, and these should always be applied over the correct tie-coat. Topcoats to avoid using in conjunction with ZINGA® include all alkyd-based enamels, which must never be applied over any zinc based coatings. This is because the zinc reacts with the alkyd and causes saponification which allows the paint to dry but to never harden and cure.


High-build vinyls as well as acrylated and chlorinated-rubber enamels are extremely high in solvent content, so the use of a sealer is mandatory with these coatings.


Zingametall offers two sealers in its range, which have both been tested with ZINGA® according to ISO 12944: Zingalufer and Zingaceram HS.


ZINGA® is a unique coating product. Before application of any topcoat, a small test application should always be performed to see if any reactions occur.




A ZINGA® unique system shows fire retardant properties. Moreover, it does not spread flames or produce toxic flames. This has been tested by two independent laboratories.


A fire test at SGS Yarsley Technical Service (UK) found that ZINGA® has a class 0 surface (best ranking) in flame spread ranking.



A reaction to fire test was performed at Efectis (Netherlands) in 2013. ZINGA® showed to propagation of the fire, no toxic smoke or droplets.


Both test results can be found in the given certificates by the bodies / authorities to the Bvba Zingametall Sprl.




ZINGA® is one of the few non specialized coatings that can be welded and applied over welds.


The welding of steel coated with ZINGA® (max. 60μ DFT) is possible without excessive zinc fumes because the heat of the approaching weld bead burns off the organic binder well below the melting point of zinc.


The remaining zinc dust is removed from the weld zone by convection leaving the weld-area free from contamination.









Another big advantage is the small ‘burn back’ from Zinganized steel that is welded. In epoxy paints, this can be tens of centimeters (to meters), with ZINGA® this burn back is limited.


ZINGA® can also be applied on welds without the needs of any special surface preparation (cleaning and roughening of the surface is necessary).



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