Ion Plating

Definition - What does Ion Plating mean?

Ion plating is the method by which substance coatings, typically a compound or metal, are deposited on target surface areas. The material used in this type of coating is ionized and vaporized through the aid of an electric arc and then forced toward the target at high speed.

This process is commonly performed within a vacuum chamber or an inert gas setting.

Ion plating is also known as physical vapor deposition (PVD).

Corrosionpedia explains Ion Plating

Materials that are to be subjected to ion plating are usually treated prior to plating in order to thoroughly clean them and eliminate foreign materials. This is also performed in the environment where plating is to be accomplished, a process called sputtering. Plating and sputtering can be two identical processes, but with the former, the target is typically bombarded with other material’s ions, like argon gas, that can strip off all foreign particles rather than promoting a bond.

When the target is prepared and treated for coating application, the process of ion plating commences. The coating material undergoes vaporization with the help of electric arc current that makes use of the high flow of current and low voltage. This is done in order to ionize all atoms that repel each other because of similar electric charges, as well as to vaporize the material used for coating. The vapor produced is propelled onto the target and delivered in opposite weak electrical charge to be a magnet for the ionized coating. This process makes ion vaporization possible and in turn results in the adhesion of coating to the surface.

Ion plating application techniques can be altered in several ways. One way is the introduction of other types of vaporized ions and various gases within the closed setting. It is also possible to mix vaporized ions of one material with another in order to form different compounds that adhere to the surface target. Combining different materials also allows a broad variety of coatings.

Coatings applied through ion plating are usually even and ultra thin, making them ideal for materials with uneven or irregular shapes. Most importantly, coatings applied by ion plating possess impressive hardness, high durability and corrosion resistance capabilities.

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