When it comes to cabinet handles we have a lot of choices today. From ornate handles to sleek modern pieces, you will find a handle to fit any style preference. However, the choice of material for handles in not as easy to make. With so many materials available in the market, how do we decide? Ideally we should look for something that fits our budget and will last a lifetime.
While there are cheaper alternatives like steel in the market, we would suggest zinc cabinet handles. More durable and resistant to corrosion, zinc handles will last you a lifetime. These are also not as expensive as you may imagine. Today there are a number of zinc cabinet manufacturers who are working with new designs and a more affordable price.
What is zinc?
Zinc is a naturally occurring element. It appears in the periodic table with the atomic number 30. It is used for plating, casting and in electrical batteries. It is one of the essential elements in human diets and is often found in various enzymes in nature. It is also an important component of alloys like brass (another popular material for cabinet handles) and compounds like zinc chloride.
Zinc has been in use since our ancient civilizations. Impure zinc and later as alloy, it has been used to make implements and utensils. Today it is used in galvanizing processes and to produce alloys. It is also used to make components like zinc cabinet handles.
Resistance to corrosion
There are few hardware elements as resistant to corrosion as zinc. In fact, zinc plating is often applied to ferrous metals to give them a corrosion resistant barrier. In fact many metals used in making cabinet handles actually have zinc coating. Other than hardware zinc coatings is even used in industries using various ferrous metals like automobile or heavy machinery industry.
One of zinc’s most common use in the industrial sector is in the galvanization of steel and iron to protect them from rusting. In the galvanizing process the metal surface is coated with a thin layer of zinc. The zinc layer forms the corrosion-resistant barrier. The term ‘commercial zinc’ is quite common in the industrial sector. This is the specific quantification of zinc in coating metallic parts to provide resistance against corrosion.
Alternatively, it is used as a component of alloys to boost their resistance. For instance, alloying zinc with copper produces brass. It is the zinc in the brass which gives it its resistance to various corrosive elements. In fact, making brass is the second-most common usage for zinc.
What makes zinc resistant to corrosion?
Zinc is a very effective as a resistant layer not because it does not react to the environment, but because it does! On exposure zinc reacts with the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and tarnishes quickly. Later it forms zinc carbonate layer. This is a passive layer that does not further reacts with air or water. Furthermore, it forms a protective layer over the metal surface, a barrier that stops the underlying metal from reacting to the atmosphere.
This is why zinc as a layer is also so effective in protecting other metals. The zinc layer reacts with the atmosphere to form zinc carbonate that covers underlying metals like steel or copper, protecting them from further corrosion. Here zinc is seen as a sacrificial coating. We sacrifice it to protect the other metal.
A zinc coating is not the same as the protective coating of anti-corrosive paint. The paint forms only a thin layer and eventually the underlying metal will react with the atmosphere. Zinc on the other hand forms a completely inert layer, stopping any further corrosion.
Zinc is plated on the surface of another metal like steel through galvanization process where both metals are dipped in an electrolytic solution. Because it is more electrochemically active than most metals, it will serve as an anode for the other metal.
Zinc as hardware
Today a number of manufacturers are using the metal in many forms to make handles, pulls and other products. You can easily find high quality zinc handles that promise both quality and durability. For those looking for something special, zinc cabinet handles are also available in designer range. With both quality and aesthetics guaranteed, zinc handles offer you the best value for money.