Zinc is an element used in the galvanization of steel, giving the steel a surface that is more resilient to the elements.  It is commonly used for exterior applications such as roofs, wall panels or cladding.  Zinc also has inherent antimicrobial properties that make it very popular for countertops or other surfaces that are prone to the growth of bacteria or germs.  When exposed to air, it develops a gray patina that prevents further corrosion.  Corrosion resistance is one of zinc’s most important properties.