Zinc Whiskers


What are Zinc Whiskers?

Zinc whiskers are tiny growths of elemental zinc that form on the surfaces of objects that are electroplated, or galvanized, with zinc. Objects that can develop zinc whiskers include nuts and bolts, steel conduits, sheet metal, metal railings, and certain types of tile flooring, like galvanized-pan raised access floor panels. 

Problems Caused by Zinc Whiskers

Zinc whiskers break loose and become airborne when surfaces are mechanically disturbed. Ordinary daily activity is sufficient to cause this, particularly in zinc-plated raised access floor panels. 

Avoiding Zinc Whiskers with the Hot-Dip Galvanizing Method

In the hot-dip galvanizing method, steel stock is passed through a molten bath of zinc at temperatures typically around 850 degrees F, producing a coating comprised of several metallurgical bonded layers. To date, no variation of the hot-dip process has demonstrated the compressive stress condition in the plating that afflicts the electroplating method. Since the discovery of the zinc whisker phenomenon over 50 years ago, zinc whisker formation has not been identified on any hot-dip galvanized steels. 

How can Panelway's Raised Access Flooring System Avoid Zinc Whiskers?​​

Panelway's raised access floor panels are epoxy painted - not galvanized.
Panelway's understructure components are made of hot-dipped galvanized steel and will not grow zinc whiskers.