Zinc Plating – Benefits and Processes

Zinc plating is extensively used in industrial processes and machinery. It is also used on small machine parts or hardware such as springs, screws, fasteners, and crack handles. It is used in automotive industry for making brake calipers, brake pipes, and components of the steering.

Zinc electroplating is the popular method to use the metal for coating purposes.

The Zinc Plating Process

The cleaning of the metal surface before applying zinc coating is essential for proper results. It can be done using an alkaline solution.

The substrate is dipped into a zinc solution using barrels or racks. Barrel plating is more appropriate for small metal surfaces and is a less labor-intensive technique. It also helps in more uniform coating. Rack plating is mostly used for large metal parts and also offers superior results.

Zinc electroplating is the next step in the process. It involves use of an electrical current to deposit zinc ions on the substrate. Zinc electroplating helps to get a smooth coating of the metal on the substrates. It makes it possible for the coats to remain thin and offer lower costs to the consumers.

After this process, the substrates are cleaned to remove any contamination. The zinc coating is allowed to dry completey before the substrate can be used.

Zinc is flexible enough to use with varied bath chemistries. It provides options to customize the plating process with ease. Zinc coating can last for a long time if the processes have been used efficiently. The consistency of the coating and use of quality products for post-treatment processes are very critical in ensuring that the coating is perfect.

The Benefits of Zinc Plating

Prevents Corrosion

Zinc plating offers excellent protection against corrosion. Zinc coating not only forms a protective layer on the substrates but also acts as the barrier that will be first corroded in case there is occurrence of damage (sacrificial coating).

Another way zinc plating protects metals from corrosion is through the process of oxidation. It forms zinc oxide after reacting with oxygen present in the atmosphere. Zinc oxide can then react with moisture or water to form zinc hydroxide. It then reacts with carbon dioxide to form zinc carbonate, which forms a layer on the coating. The presence of zinc carbonate offers additional protection from rust and damage.

Due to its anti-corrosive properties, zinc plating is used make components of military tanks and vehicles.

Strengthens and Protects Metals

Zinc plating can make the substrates stronger. Zinc coating doesn’t place unnecessary stress on substrates or machine parts, which helps improve their performances. Additional stress on metals can weaken them and affect their functioning.

Zinc plating is less prone to hydrogen embrittlement that causes metals to become brittle. The hydrogen can diffuse on the surface to weaken the metal. But zinc coating can protect the substrate from the adverse effect of the hydrogen.

It also improves the adhesion properties of metals. When used on a metal, the substrates are able to adhere to substances more efficiently.

Offers Ductility

Zinc is a ductile metal. It has the property to stretch well without experiencing breakages. It allows zinc to use as a coating material easily on substrates of different shapes and sizes. Ductility also helps to make the coating process easier.

Appeals to Aesthetics

Use of zinc coating can improve the appearance of the metal components. It can be an advantage if the hardware is used for external household or industrial applications. It is also possible to infuse different colors in the coating during the zinc plating process. For example, you can opt for white or gray coatings; ranging from shiny to matte finishes.

Provides Environment-Friendly Coating

Zinc coating is not harmful to the environment as other metals. Most zinc components can be recycled and are also less toxic. The process of zinc electroplating or coating is also considerably eco-friendly compared with other plating processes.

Reduces Costs

Zinc electroplating helps to reduce costs of the coating process. But zinc plating can further reduce costs during the cooling process. It can withstand extremely high temperatures easily. So, it doesn’t require special processes for its cooling. It can save considerable costs.

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