The Effects of Mixing Diesel with Galvanised Steel

Galvanised steel has many uses within many industries. The appealing properties that galvanised steel has over normal steel make it suitable for many jobs. Galvanising steel involves applying a protective coating of zinc to steel. The most common method that is used is hot-dip galvanising which involves submerging the steel components into a bath of molten hot zinc which then leads to a thick layer of zinc iron alloy that is deposited on the surface of the steel.

Adding the zinc to the steel has benefits which includes that it is a reliable method which has been proved many times over that it works. It has a long-life expectancy and increases the corrosion resistance of the steel underneath, even if there is a small area of steel exposed the zinc coating can still protect it. Galvanising steel is also seen as a cheaper alternative to using stainless steel.

The above benefits, among others, make galvanised steel a prime choice in many industries. For example, in diesel generators it can be used for canopy panels to make them more resistant to harsh weather conditions, preventing rusting.

However, galvanised steel should not be used for everything. It should not be used especially for any sort of piping for diesel fuel or on the inside of a diesel fuel tank. This is because when the diesel comes into contact with galvanised steel there is a chemical reaction that takes place between the diesel and the zinc that is used to galvanise the steel. The reaction causes deposits to build up at the tips of fuel injectors which can then lead to further problems.

The deposits, which are commonly known as ‘coke’, lead to a decrease in power outputted from engine as more coke builds up on the fuel injectors. Making the diesel engine less efficient which then reduces the total efficiency of the diesel generator.

This problem mainly interferes with the operation of a High-Pressure Common Rail (HPRC) fuel injection system.

The zinc in the galvanised steel coating can also destabilise the diesel in the tank. If the diesel becomes destabilised then the quality of the fuel can degrade over time and then not burn as efficiently, again reducing the overall efficiency of a diesel generator.

Therefore, it is essential that a galvanised steel fuel tank should not be used for the storage of diesel in a diesel generator. This also stands true in other industries, such as automotive, where similar issues will arise from mixing diesel and galvanised steel.