Why are our tripods made of galvanized aluminum?

Take a look at our selection of mounting supplies and you’ll find a lot of them are made of galvanized aluminum. Galvanized aluminum is lightweight, strong, and corrosion-resistant. But why is that so important, and what is galvanizing anyway?

A little bit more about galvanizing

Galvanizing is the process of bonding a thin layer of zinc onto another metal, typically aluminum or steel. It can be thought of as “painting” zinc on and it can be done several ways. The most important part to know is that you’re not creating a coating that can scratch off, you’re creating a permanently bonded part of the product.

The internet reports that galvanized items were found as early as the 17th century in Asia. The name itself seems to come from a scientist named Galvani who had nothing to do with galvanizing at all. He did his research on electrical stimulation of muscles. It’s possible that they named the process after a different Galvani. Maybe someone at the time confused Galvani with someone else. At any rate, we’ve galvanized things in Europe and the West since the 18th century.

Why manufacturers galvanize things

Galvanizing metal makes it more resistant to corrosion and that’s super important for everything that goes outdoors, from nails to mounting equipment. It’s important to make a tripod or some other mounting item corrosion-resistant, because if it were to corrode then it would become weaker and eventually fall apart. Obviously we don’t want that…

A galvanized antenna?

…but if corrosion-resistance is so important, you’re saying to yourself, why isn’t anyone making galvanized aluminum antennas? The zinc coating of galvanized aluminum is much less sensitive to radio transmissions than regular aluminum. On the other hand, aluminum oxide is almost as receptive to transmissions as pure aluminum, so a little oxidation is ok on an antenna, especially on the parts that do the receiving because they don’t have to bear the weight of the structure.

Let’s also look at the weight part of the issue. Aluminum is lighter than steel and that really doesn’t matter a lot for you when you install it, but it cuts down on shipping costs and that makes it really important to us at Solid Signal, because we want to offer products to you at fair prices. We pay shipping costs when we bring items into our warehouse, and you pay when you get things delivered. Lighter is always better when it comes to shipping. Aluminum is nearly as strong as steel but a lot lighter.

Generally, galvanized parts have that weird patchwork pattern you see in the photo above. They don’t always have that pattern so you shouldn’t worry if you don’t see it. It could be hard to detect or just not present. The pattern exists due to the way the galvanization takes place.

When you’re looking for the best mounting equipment, the best antennas, or anything that makes your electronic life better, check out the great selection at Solid Signal, where you’ll find over 45,000 parts designed to help you live your life the best way you can!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.