Plating

Definition - What does Plating mean?

Plating is a thin layer of metal that has been added to the outside of a material. It is a surface covering process by which a metal is deposited on a conductive surface.

Plating is used to:

  • Harden objects
  • Decorate objects
  • Inhibit corrosion
  • Improve solderability/weatherability
  • Reduce friction
  • Improve paint adhesion
  • Alter conductivity
  • Improve IR reflectivity
  • Provide radiation shielding

Most appliances/housewares, aircraft products, and machine tools are plated for durability.

Corrosionpedia explains Plating

Plating is a subset of finishing operations that involves applying a coating of metal over a base metal substrate to give various desirable properties to the object. Plating is very important in modern industrial applications. Through this process material longevity is increased significantly.

There are two types of plating:

  • Electroplating - An ionic metal is supplied with electrons to form a non-ionic coating on a substrate. A common system involves a chemical solution with the ionic form of the metal, an anode and a cathode where electrons are supplied to produce a film of non-ionic metal. Electroplating is used in the automotive industry, corrosion protection and electronics.
  • Electroless plating - Involves several simultaneous reactions in an aqueous solution, which occur without the use of external electrical power. Nickel plating is a common electroless plating method.

There are several plating methods, and many variations. In one method, a solid surface is covered with a metal sheet, and then heat and pressure are applied to fuse them. Other plating techniques include vapor deposition under vacuum and sputter deposition.

Some common plating materials include:

  • Gold plating - Used in jewelry, electronics, and other corrosion-resistant products
  • Chrome plating - Finishing treatment using the electrolytic deposition of chromium
  • Tin plating - Used extensively to protect both ferrous and nonferrous surfaces
  • Rhodium plating - Occasionally used on white gold, silver, or copper and its alloys
  • Nickel plating - Compared to cadmium plating, offers a shinier and harder finish, but lower corrosion resistance, lubricity and malleability

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