What Is Zinc Plating

What Is Zinc Plating

Zinc is a versatile metal. It has both decorative and functional aspects. It looks appealing and can be used to plate almost any metal. This makes Zinc plating an attractive method of application.

Common Metal Substrates Used with Zinc

Theoretically, zinc can be applied to any metal as a layer or coating. However, the most common substrates used in zinc plating are the following:

* Steel
* Cast Iron
* Malleable Iron
* Brass

Other metals such as copper are also utilized as a substrate but in certain industries, e.g. electronics, but this is rare.

Such coatings may be applied in a “pure” zinc form. Zinc alloys are also a possibility in certain applications. The most common combinations are zinc chromate, zinc-iron and zinc nickel.

The Purpose of Zinc Plating

The main purpose of zinc plating is protective. The process is intended to impart or enhance certain characteristics or quality to the surface of the metal substrate. Industries rely on a zinc coating to protect their objects against corrosion. In fact, professionals refer to a zinc coating as a “sacrificial coating.”

This clearly denotes its purpose. After bonding to the surface of the substrate metal, zinc takes the brunt of the environmental forces. In the process, it slowly corrodes. In this role, it protects the base material at its own cost. In doing so, however, zinc plating extends the expected life of the base material is covers.

The ability of zinc to act as an effective anti-corrosion coating depends upon several factors. The major three are those common to many plating or coating applications. They are:

* Coating thickness
* Post-plate treatments
* Environmental exposure

In addition to being protective, zinc can also create an attractive appearance on a less appealing item. In part, this ability is achieved through its color palette.

The Colors of Zinc Plating

Unlike many metals, zinc plating can cover the substrate in diverse colors. Among the most common ones are:

* Black
* Yellow
* Bright Zinc Plating
* “Matte” or grey surface
* Clear or Colorless
* “Metallic Blue”
* “Slightly Iridescent to “Iridescent

This allows industries who prefer the inexpensive price of zinc plating, the chance to give even the plainest most functional object some form of decorative appeal.

Industries Employing Zinc Plating

Several industries employ zinc plating to strengthen or improve their components or products. Among the most common is the automotive industry. Products include brake calipers. Another manufacturer using zinc coatings is the electronic industries.

Zinc Plating

Zinc is regarded as an efficient and economical means of coating a base substrate. The process can have minimal environmental impact. Its ability to add anti-corrosive qualities to a substrate ensures this form of electroplating has its supporters. Add to this the ability of zinc plating to provide an attractive appearance to any base metal and you have several solid reasons why the process will continue to remain popular with certain manufacturers.

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