Hidden champion of circularity

Galvanized Steel in the Circular Economy

There is a recognition that we need to expand our existing infrastructure in order to provide a more sustainable transportation network across the UK.

Galvanizing is SustainableWe do however, need to balance this with the growing concerns at the effects of climate change and a consequent increasing use of engineered materials, the need for a new approach to maximise the value of raw materials by keeping buildings, infrastructure, resources and materials in use for as long as possible is clear.

The galvanizing industry has welcomed this increasing focus on design for durability, deconstruction, disassembly and flexibility as well as on re-use, recovery or remanufacturing of materials. Galvanized steel structures and components are ideal circular materials for low carbon infrastructure.

Recognition that the concept of a circular economy is fundamental to optimising sustainability of materials and hot dip galvanized steel perfectly illustrates this:

  • Hot dip galvanizing of steel products after fabrication delivers the highest levels of corrosion protection – the steel structure or component will often achieve its design life with no maintenance.
  • The galvanized coating can follow the steel structure through multiple cycles of re-reuse.
  • Galvanized coatings are bonded to the steel – allowing the steel product to be re-used along with the original coating without need for recoating (just think of those scaffolding poles that are repeatedly assembled and disassembled around our buildings).
  • Galvanized steel components that have reached the end of their design life, or are uninstalled for any other reason, can be re-galvanized and returned to the original use.
  • If the re-use cycles come to an end, both steel and zinc are recycled together in the well-established steel recycling processes – with the zinc being returned, without loss of properties, to zinc production plants and eventually back into the galvanizing process.

If a material system was specially designed for the circular economy, hot dip galvanizing would be a great example. But, it is here today and has been following these principles for decades.

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Crossrail West Gantries

Global Rail Construction Limited completed a package of work for Network Rail that included the design, supply and installation of several large galvanized steel signal structures. It includes a 5-track gantry signal structure, a large 2-track cantilever structure and several smaller galvanized steel lightweight gantry and cantilever structures.

Read more about Crossrail West Gantries

Haymarket Station in Edinburgh

Haymarket, Scotland’s fourth busiest train station, has received a major refurbishment and extension. The new transport hub in Edinburgh’s West End has been created to accommodate a predicted 6 million increase in passenger numbers.

The new additions to the station will enable it to become a transport interchange hub providing enhanced connections with the bus and tram network. The extra station capacity and facilities will address increasing passenger numbers travelling to and from Haymarket.

Read more about Haymarket Station in Edinburgh

Leeds Station Southern Entrance

The southern entrance is located over the River Aire, where residential towers, an electrified railway and a pedestrian bridge all constrained the site. This, however, was the ideal location to meet the project objectives of accessibility from the south and to create a landmark building. An innovative approach was adopted to deliver the required solutions.

Read more about Leeds Station

Vienna Central Railway Station

The roof structure of Viena Central Railway Station, about six times the size of a football pitch, can be seen for miles around. It is one of the most complicated and beautiful steel construction projects in Austria and incorporates approximately 7,000 tonnes of steel.

The complexity of the roof structure meant that it would be virtually impossible to maintain so the design allowed for individual members to be galvanized and bolted together to form the complex rhombus for each subsection of the roof.

Read more about Vienna Central Railway Station

Find out more about Corrosion Protection for the Railway Industry

Crossrail West Gantries Images © Global Rail Construction
Haymarket Station in Edinburgh Images © David Cadzow
Leeds Station Southern Entrance Images © David Hopkinson, AHR, Mott MacDonald
Vienna Central Railway Station Images © Renee del Missier, Unger Steel Groupt