Porosity in Electroplating- To achieve optimum performance, an electroplated product’s surface must be smooth and uniform in a variety of applications. Electrical resistance and poor performance can be caused by imperfections on the surface of a connection, notably in the telecommunications industry.

Modern electroplating procedures allow for the production of high-quality finished goods. However, a number of factors can still lead to inconsistencies in the final product. One of the most common flaws in electroplated goods is porosity.

What Does The Term “POROSITY” Mean?

Porosity refers to the presence of small imperfections in an electroplated object’s metal covering. These faults are little holes that occur when the coating thickness is less than 1.25 microns. Pores can reach the foundation material or, if an underplate is present, halt at it. Porosity can impact a variety of metal coatings, but gold may be particularly vulnerable.

Although you can’t see porosity on a product’s surface with the naked eye, a scanning electron microscope can reveal the pores (SEM). It’s questionable how many pores a product’s surface can have. Pores, on the other hand, have a substantial impact in harsh environments.


Several difficulties that happen before, during, and after electroplating can produce porosity. Porosity can also be produced for a number of reasons, including:

  • Already existing flaws in the substrate surface
  • Stamping and shaping processes that aren’t up to grade
  • The thickness of the coating is insufficient.
  • There is a possibility of harm after plating.

Because it is connected to coating thickness, it’s critical to understand how metals are deposited on a substrate during electroplating. When the base material is immersed in an electroplating solution, the metal coating adheres to the substrate’s surface in many places. The plating spreads out from those locations as the thickness of the plating increases, coating the whole surface of the object. Thin coatings may, as a result, fail to cover the surface or induce porosity ultimately.

What Is the Impact Of Porosity On Products?

Porosity affects an electroplated object depending on its intended usage and whether or not it has an underplate. The most severe problems caused by porosity in electroplating are corrosion and corrosion creep, which occur when pores reach down to the base metal and enable corrosion products to flow through and contaminate the surface. In addition, harsh application environments and chlorine and sulphur can exacerbate corrosion creep in porous plated products.

Pores can influence the strength and ductility of a finished product, as well as cause corrosion.

What Can I Do to Prevent my Products From Becoming Porous?

If you suspect porosity may limit your product’s longevity and usage, you can prevent it and offset the negative repercussions by:

Reducing the roughness of the substrate surface: Surface flaws and roughness on the object you wish to electroplate might contribute to an increase. This means that thoroughly cleaning the surface before electroplating will prevent the formation of pores.

While an underplate will not prevent pores from forming, it will aid in the prevention of corrosion creep. This is because when pores stop at the underplate layer, corrosion products from the base material are unable to discolour the surface.

Smart Microns has been a leader in the electroplating sector since 1998, specialising in precious metal platings for the electrical and electronics industries, such as silver and gold. For over 22 years, Smart Microns has been researching and manufacturing microns. Smart Microns’ parent company, Smart Creations, is based in Chennai, India, and was one of the first in the South Indian market to create electroplating and electrophoretic lacquers (ED lacquers). Smart Microns also offers micron electroplating services for over seven metals in a variety of textured finishes.