How to Galvanize a Nail

Kelvin Hayes

In order to protect a nail from rusting, a process called galvanization is done to coat the iron surface of the nail in zinc crystals -- creating a galvanized nail. Because zinc is more reactive to the combination of water and air than iron, it corrodes first, preserving the iron beneath.

As the zinc corrodes, it gives off electrons, passing a negative charge into the iron, further protecting the iron from corrosion.

  1. Dump 30 grams of zinc sulfate crystals into a 200 ml glass beaker. Pour 100 ml of water into the glass beaker containing the zinc sulfate.

  2. Heat the mixture until the zinc sulfate dissolves in the water, creating a solution to facilitate the galvanization process.

  3. Clip the negative wire clamp to the nail and the positive clamp to a strip of zinc metal. Place the two items, with wires attached, into the zinc sulfate solution, ensuring they do not touch each other.

  4. Turn on the 5-volt power source for two minutes. Turn off the power source and remove the clamped nail and zinc metal strip from the zinc sulfate solution to complete the galvanization process.