A lot of engineering based industries lean heavily on the electroplating industry to get the desired results on their products. From rockets to the basic resistors in electronics circuits, electroplating has achieved a wide reach. The most important property that metal plating is used to enhance is Conductivity, however the term Conductivity applies to multiple sub properties, each pertinent to a different type of application.

Different Types of Conductivity

There are different types of Conductivity, all of which we experience even in our daily life. Conductivity itself refers to the ability of a material to transmit energy. It can differ based on the state of the material, the environmental conditions, purity, presence of additional elements, shape and size. Based on the type of energy flowing through the material, it is classified as Thermal, Electrical and Acoustical conductivity.

Thermal Conductivity:

Thermal conductivity is the measure of the ability of a material to transmit heat through it. Materials with high thermal conductivity are used in heat sink type applications. Materials with low thermal conductivity are used as thermal insulators. Materials that are resistant to heat are called as Thermal Resistors. This is the most common application that industries need, and metals with the least thermal conductivity are preferred.

Electrical Conductivity:

Electrical conductivity refers to the ability of a material to transmit electricity through it. Electrical conductivity of materials, especially metals is of great use in the electrical, electronics, communications and the automotive industries. The ability of a material to resist electricity is called as Thermal resistance, and such materials are used as Thermal Insulators.

It is to be noted that materials that have high thermal conductivity often have high electrical conductivity. But some metals have good electrical conductivity, while having a high resistance to heat, which is very useful in engineering based industries.

Acoustical Conductivity:

Acoustical conductivity refers to the ability of a material to transmit sound waves through it. Acoustical conductivity of materials is applied in the construction, communications, and music industries. Some metals like aluminium are good at conducting sounds.

Metal electroplating is often used to accomplish the four properties of Thermal conductivity, Thermal resistance, Electrical conductivity and Electrical resistance. In this article, we present to you some of the best metals for improving the conductive properties of your products.

It goes without saying that metals are generally good conductors. But it is near impossible to get a single metal that satisfies all the desirable characteristics and still keep the expenses within budget. To solve this conundrum, we turn to Electroplating the desired metal onto the product that is made from cheaper, sturdier materials. The trick is choosing the correct metal coating that has the right level of conductivity and meets the other unique specifications of the end application of the product.

Out of all the elements known to us, the following are the top 6 choices of conductive elements and in particular conductive metals. The durability of the product in its actual working environment relies heavily on the properties of the metal is coated with. From the below details, you can conclude which of the metals would suit your products.

1. Silver:

Silver has the highest electrical conductivity in comparison to all the metals. The crystal structure of silver is a face centered cubic lattice with a single valence electron, that allows for efficient heat and thermal conductivity. Silver is in fact the standard for electrical conductivity. All other metals are assesses in reference to it. Silver is the benchmark of 100 on the electrical conductivity scale. It however does not possess much wear resistance. But due to its excellent optical reflectivity, it is used commonly to coat mirrors and plating conductors in electronics and communication devices that do not generate much heat. The only down point is that it tarnishes easily, which is solved by using high end lacquers.

2. Copper:

Copper is ranked the second most conductive metal after Silver. Keeping Silver as 100 on the conductivity scale, copper stands at 97. Interestingly the conductive properties of Copper increase with increase in the temperature of the environment it is in. Copper also has a face centric cubic lattice that is good for conductivity. Copper is also a good conductor of heat, due to the presence of free electrons, but it is highly resistant to corrosion. Thus copper is great for applications that produce less heat but are likely to operate in corrosive conditions. Its greatest applications are in the electrical and electronics industries for semi-conductors, printed circuit boards, etc. In fact IBM uses all copper chips instead of Aluminium, taking full advantage of copper’s superior conductive properties.

3. Gold:

Gold is the third most conductive metal. Compared to Copper’s 100 on the Conductivity scale, Gold is a solid 67. Gold is a noble metal that does not interact with its environment. Thus it is the best at corrosion resistance. Coated in the right way, Gold will provide the substrate with good wear resistance, corrosion resistance and the required conductivity. The only downside to this wonder metal is its price. It is fairly expensive compared to other industrial metal plating. It is ideal for use in electroplating semi-conductors, connectors, printed circuits boards and etched circuits. It is by far the most viable choice for durable metal coating that meets all the conductive requirements.

4. Zinc:

Zinc is an affordable alternative to other expensive metals like Gold, Silver and Copper. Zinc is a tough metal and provides great resistance to wear and tear, extending the life of the product. It is slightly less conductive than metals like gold, but still holds good for medium conductive applications. The ordinarily brittle metal becomes malleable and ductile when heated, and can be used to coat other metal surfaces.

5. Nickel:

Nickel is a great metal when used as both a substrate for precious metal plating and also as standalone metal coating. It has been used to make up for the products base material thickness and to get a uniform surface finish. It adds value to the product by protecting it from corrosion and heat damage. It can be manipulated to get a bright silvery sheen or a grey matte finish. It is used for heavy engineering applications and in decorative applications.

6. Platinum:

Platinum is another precious metal that is often used as a protective coating for metal substrates that are easily damaged by corrosive environments. Platinum has a high meting point of 1768 Degree Celsius. It is a good thermal conductor, making it an excellent choice for applications that require high thermal conductivity. Like pure Gold, Platinum also has the drawback of being very expensive.

Smart Microns is the best industrial metal electroplating service provider, backed by 20 + years of research and experience. We strive to provide the highest quality of services, at the most affordable rates. Our signature precious metal plating is 24kt Gold, which we have perfected with Nano Tech Gold Deposition technology. With the smallest quantity, we can cover larger surface areas, making the process economical, compared to conventional Gold plating methods. Our Smart Microns Industrial plating experts are here to guide you to the perfect metal plating, with the right conductive properties. Contact us now for technical consultations at 9884407200, or drop us your queries at info@mantragoldcoatings.com