WHAT IS ELECTROPLATING, AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
The term “electroplating” is also used to refer to the process of electroplating. The procedure includes depositing material using an electric current, as the name suggests. Due to this procedure, a thin coating of metal is deposited onto the surface of a workpiece termed the substrate. Electroplating is generally used to alter an object’s physical qualities. For example, this procedure can be used to increase the wear resistance, corrosion resistance, aesthetic appeal of things, and thickness.
Electroplating appears to be cutting-edge technology, but it is actually a centuries-old procedure. The first electroplating attempts took place in the early eighteenth century, and Brugnatelli developed the process in the first part of the nineteenth century. The electroplating procedure was adopted and extended across Europe as a result of Brugnatelli’s experiments. The electroplating technique evolved to keep up with demand as manufacturing practises expanded over the next two centuries, thanks to the Industrial Revolution and two world wars, resulting in the process Sharretts Plating Company utilises today.
A metal alloy is made by mixing two or more metallic components. Alloys offer improved corrosion and wear resistance, friction reduction, electrical conductivity, and heat resistance, among other benefits. While many metals have these properties in their natural state, forming alloys will enhance each metal’s performance and improve overall results. Bronze (made by mixing copper and tin) and brass are two common metal alloys that you’re probably familiar with (a combination of copper and zinc).
A superalloy, also known as a high-performance alloy, is a strengthened variant of an alloy with improved properties for heavy-duty metal finishing applications. Superalloys, in particular, offer improved heat protection, improved surface stability, better corrosion resistance, and increased mechanical strength. As a result, superalloys are well-suited for high-stress manufacturing applications, such as the production of aerospace turbine engines.
SUPERALLOY VS ALLOY PLATING BENEFITS
Plating on superalloys such as Monel or Inconel has several advantages over plating on standard alloys. First, because superalloys are known for their heat resistance and strength, using one can considerably improve a part’s performance in harsh conditions. Those in the aerospace, automotive, and electronics industries may benefit the most from this improvement.
A superalloy metal could be used to make any material that must withstand extreme heat or corrosive conditions. Superalloys may also find industrial use in manufacturing facilities that rely on the constant use of fast-moving machinery.
In the same way, plating superalloys has advantages over leaving components in their native state. Electroplating and electroless plating, for example, are crucial in the aircraft sector for increasing strength and minimising corrosion risk. Zinc-nickel coatings, for example, are used to protect items from air corrosion and the formation of white and red rust.
Superalloys are worth consideration for industrial items that need to be robust, durable, and trustworthy, even if they aren’t the optimum material for every project. To ensure top performance, consult a metal finisher who is familiar with the nuances of alloys and superalloys used in your sector.
THE DEMAND FOR SUPERALLOYS IN TURBINE ENGINES FOR AIRCRAFT
The size and power of an aeroplane or spaceship engine, as well as the thunderous sound they create when operating, are likely the first things that come to mind. However, these engines produce a significant quantity of heat as well. For example, a jet engine may achieve temperatures of almost 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit. In such severe temperatures, standard base metal or alloy cannot provide enough thermal protection.
Various superalloys can endure the tremendous heat generated by turbine engines, which is good news for aircraft builders.
These materials are usually nickel-based, such as:
Inconel is a nickel-chromium alloy that works well in high-heat applications, such as those involving aircraft turbine engines, and was developed in the United Kingdom by Wiggin Alloys in the 1940s. Inconel is also a corrosion-resistant metal.
Monel is a superalloy that combines nickel with other metals like titanium, copper, aluminium, and iron. Monel is a good choice for aeronautical applications since it retains its strength even at high temperatures.
THE BENEFITS OF ELECTROPLATING SUPERALLOYS FOR USE IN SPACE
Many metal-based products, particularly superalloys used in aircraft turbine engines, require electroplating as a finishing step. Plating can improve the superalloy’s characteristics and increase its heat and corrosion resistance. Only a few companies, however, can consistently offer consistent results when performing this difficult process.
For example, Inconel necessitates considerable surface preparation, including cleaning and pre-processing. In addition, when plating onto superalloy substrates, the precision application of the coating (usual nickel) is critical because there is little room for error.