The short answer is that galvanized steel is steel which has been coated with a protective coating of zinc in order to prevent rust and corrosion. The name for the process, Galvanization (also spelled galvanisation) used to be a word that would describe the administration of electric shocks and is named for the Italian scientist Luigi Galvani, who performed experiments at the University of Bologna involving electric charges and frogs. It had been found that a charge applied to the spinal cord of a frog could generate muscular spasms throughout its body.
At one point galvanization referred to the work of covering with metal by the use of the electrochemical and electrodeposition processes of using a “galvanic” current to protect it from rusting and corrosion, but today hot-dip galvanizing (HDG) is the common method. This is the process of dipping fabricated steel into a kettle, vat or bath of molten zinc. While the steel is in the kettle, the iron metallurgically reacts with the molten zinc to form a tightly-bonded alloy coating that provides superior corrosion protection to the steel.
Although less often used, the word galvanization can also refer to stimulation that arouses a person to lively action; “the unexpected news produced a kind of galvanization of the whole team”.
The Holidays are nearing, I must galvanize the Renaissance Man fabrication team into completing some more fine work before all the out of town guests arrive.