Levai, G., Godzsák, M., Török, T.I. et al. Metall and Mat Trans A (2016) 47: 3580. doi:10.1007/s11661-016-3545-0
The color of hot-dip galvanized steel sheet was adjusted in a reproducible way using a liquid Zn-Ti metallic bath, air atmosphere, and controlling the bath temperature as the only experimental parameter. Coloring was found only for samples cooled in air and dipped into Ti-containing liquid Zn. For samples dipped into a 0.15 wt pct Ti-containing Zn bath, the color remained metallic (gray) below a 792 K (519 °C) bath temperature; it was yellow at 814 K ± 22 K (541 °C ± 22 °C), violet at 847 K ± 10 K (574 °C ± 10 °C), and blue at 873 K ± 15 K (600 °C ± 15 °C). With the increasing bath temperature, the thickness of the adhered Zn-Ti layer gradually decreased from 52 to 32 micrometers, while the thickness of the outer TiO2 layer gradually increased from 24 to 69 nm. Due to small Al contamination of the Zn bath, a thin (around 2 nm) alumina-rich layer is found between the outer TiO2 layer and the inner macroscopic Zn layer. It is proven that the color change was governed by the formation of thin outer TiO2 layer; different colors appear depending on the thickness of this layer, mostly due to the destructive interference of visible light on this transparent nano-layer. A complex model was built to explain the results using known relationships of chemical thermodynamics, adhesion, heat flow, kinetics of chemical reactions, diffusion, and optics. The complex model was able to reproduce the observations and allowed making predictions on the color of the hot-dip galvanized steel sample, as a function of the following experimental parameters: temperature and Ti content of the Zn bath, oxygen content, pressure, temperature and flow rate of the cooling gas, dimensions of the steel sheet, velocity of dipping the steel sheet into the Zn-Ti bath, residence time of the steel sheet within the bath, and the velocity of its removal from the bath. These relationships will be valuable for planning further experiments and technologies on color hot-dip galvanization of steel by Zn-Ti alloys.