Gold Plating

Definition - What does Gold Plating mean?

Gold plating refers to a method of applying a layer of gold onto the surface of a substrate metal via electrochemical plating to prevent the substrate from corroding.

Corrosionpedia explains Gold Plating

Gold plating is primarily used in the electronics industry to provide a corrosion-resistant, electrically conductive layer on copper. It is also widely used in the jewelry industry to plate silver.

Gold is the protective metal of choice because it has the greatest standard electrode potential. This makes it the most noble metal for plating with the highest corrosion resistance. Due to the scarcity and significant cost of gold, it is often sparingly applied, which can create holidays that lack protection. This is problematic because it causes overall structural integrity issues when some areas corrode and degrade faster than others.

Some types of gold plating used industrially are:

  • Soft, pure gold plating
  • Soft, pure gold is deposited (sourced from special electrolytes)
  • Bright hard gold on contacts (purity of about 99%)
  • Bright hard gold on printed circuit board tabs (purity less than 90%)
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