Electroplating: Precious metals are well-known for their beauty, but they have a lot more to offer than that. Gold, silver, and platinum are commonly employed in engineering and manufacturing, among other precious metals. While precious metals have a beautiful shine that makes them visually appealing, they also have a lot of practical utility – chemical stability, electrical conductivity, and ductility are just a few of the features of the precious metal family. However, one of the most noteworthy characteristics of precious metals is their corrosion resistance.

Smart Microns can assist you in choosing the proper precious metals for electroplating of your next project to help avoid corrosion. 

PRECIOUS METALS: WHAT ARE THEY?

Natural-occurring metals that are comparatively uncommon and less chemically reactive than other metals are commonly referred to as precious metals. Precious metals, which are ductile and glossy, are frequently utilised for aesthetic purposes and as bullion. On the other hand, precious metals are prized for their chemical stability, electrical conductivity, and corrosion resistance.

There are three main subgroups within the precious metals family:

First, gold and gold alloys are used to make jewellery

In the presence of normal environmental conditions, gold is an exceptionally inert precious metal that will not oxidise. Pure gold is an exceedingly soft and ductile metal frequently utilised in electronics as a lining or electrodeposited coating. 

Silver and silver alloys: 

Silver has the highest thermal and electrical conductivity of all metals. It is also easily alloyed with other metals to create thermally stable alloys for industrial applications. 

Gold and gold alloys: 

Gold can be alloyed with other metals to increase its strength, allowing it to be used in freestanding components in the aerospace and electronics industries. Silver is a popular solution for saving money because it is less expensive than other precious metals. The automobile, electronics, and power generating industries are the most common uses for silver electroplating.

Platinum alloys and metals:

Platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium are all metals in the platinum group, and they all occur naturally in the same ore. These silver-white metals are highly stable and inert, with some malleability and strength variations. However, they remain stable at high temperatures, making them excellent for use in the automotive and aerospace industries.

Gold is a corrosion-resistant covering that is both thermally and electrically conductive. It’s a standard corrosion-resistant coating in electronics, but it’s more expensive than other corrosion-resistant coatings.

Silver electroplating is less expensive than other precious metal electroplating materials and has better electrothermal conductivity. Therefore, it is utilised in the production of power and automobiles.

Platinum is appropriate for high-temperature applications because it has a high melting point but is thermally stable. Electronics, electrical generation, and aerospace are examples of typical applications.

Rhodium is the platinum group’s most electrothermally conductive metal, with a high reflectivity makes it ideal for mirrors in high-temperature applications. The most general applications for rhodium are in aerospace and electronics.

Ruthenium is a metal that is frequently employed as an alloying agent due to its acid resistance. In addition, ruthenium is used mainly in the electronic industry to make electrical connections.

Palladium: Palladium is a famous gold substitute. It becomes less brittle and more solderable when alloyed with nickel. It becomes more robust and electrically conductive when alloyed with cobalt. This metal and its alloys are commonly used to make contacts on printed circuit boards in the electronics sector.

QUALITY OF THE SUBSTRATE

The efficiency of any coating is primarily determined by how well the substrate is prepared for electroplating. The coating will either generate surface flaws or will not attach effectively to the substrate’s surface if the substrate is pitted, cratered, filthy, or otherwise faulty. 

THICKNESS OF THE COATING

The thickness of the precious metal coating has a considerable impact on the finished product’s durability and lifetime. Thinner coatings may not cover the substrate completely, allowing corrosive chemicals to penetrate the surface and harm the substrate beneath. On the other hand, overly thick coatings may be unduly costly and damage the product’s operation. Smart Microns experts can help you determine the appropriate coating thickness range for your application and advise additional layers of non-precious materials to boost the final product’s performance.

Electroplating for corrosion

One of the most often used methods for preventing corrosion is electroplating. The electrodeposition of a metal onto the surface of a steel or iron product is known as electroplating. This metal coating functions as a sacrificial barrier, slowing or even preventing corrosion on the underlying material, referred to as the substrate. While zinc is commonly used to provide corrosion protection, a zinc-nickel alloy, such as the one offered by Sharretts Plating Company, tends to provide better long-term results than zinc alone. Zinc-nickel is, in fact, a popular corrosion-resistant material in the automotive industry. In addition, electroless Plating is a type of Plating that uses no electricity.

Electroless Plating is a type of electroplating that doesn’t require the use of electricity. A deposition is instead accomplished through an autocatalytic chemical reaction. This allows for a more consistent coating application and better control of coating thickness. When superior corrosion protection is required, electroless nickel is the most common type of electroless plating technique.

Phosphorus is commonly found in electroless nickel plating baths. Therefore, the ability of the electroless nickel coating to resist corrosion in specific environments will be influenced. For example, in alkaline environments, a low-phosphorus coating will provide the best corrosion protection, whereas acidic environments will benefit from a high-phosphorous