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September 29, 2018

Surface Coating Options Part Three – The Elements

Surface Coating Options Part Three – The Elements

In the third piece of my surface coating blog series, I’d like to discuss the elements with you. As mentioned previously, we offer about thirty different surface coatings, and we are constantly adding more. The last two blogs that I posted were related to chrome and nickel surface coatings. While chrome and nickel are both elements, I felt that it was important to distinguish them from the rest of the elements because they offer so many different options. Below are the rest of the elements that are available for surface coating.

Tin

Tin plating is most frequently specified for components that are soldered during their assembly. It is a silvery blue-white metal that offers excellent ductility, high solderability and good surface coverage. Matte tin, which Suzubin offers as an option, typically has better solderability than bright tin, but bright tin is more commonly specified due to its better appearance.

Cobalt-Tin

This two-element coating is very similar to chrome in appearance and application. The part is first plated with copper/nickel and then flashed with cobalt-tin to give the part a chrome-like appearance. The finish is hard and durable.

Silver

One of silver’s advantages is its relatively low cost, although when exposed to sulfur it could tarnish. Normally silver is chosen for one of three reasons – decorative, electrical conductivity, or thermal conductivity. It has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal. It is also highly solderable, malleable, and ductile.

Gold

Gold plating is frequently used in the electronics industry because of the need for low contact resistance, solderability, and wire bonding. When gold is alloyed with small amounts of cobalt, it drastically improves the gold’s hardness and wear characteristics. Even though gold plating can be more expensive, its excellent physical and chemical properties can offset the price. There are four types of gold plating that are available: pure gold, hard gold, electroless gold, and immersion gold. To find out more about these four types, check out our surface finishes page.

Cadmium

Cadmium plating offers excellent corrosion protection, roughly twice that of zinc. For this reason, it is often used in aerospace, marine and salt water environments.

Brass

There are two types of brass surface coatings that are available: brass and brass with lacquer. Brass finish is used mostly for its decorative appearance.  It can be applied as either a bright or satin finish, and can also be oxidized to look antique. A lacquer topcoat can also be applied which adds longevity to the coating.

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