Zinc nickel electroplating is a specialized electroplating process that involves depositing a coating of zinc-nickel alloy onto a metal surface. The primary difference between zinc-nickel electroplating and traditional zinc electroplating is the composition of the coating.
Here are some key characteristics that differentiate zinc-nickel electroplating:
- Alloy composition: Zinc-nickel electroplating involves the deposition of an alloy composed of zinc and nickel. The typical composition ranges from 12-16% nickel and 84-88% zinc, although variations can occur depending on the specific application requirements. The addition of nickel to the coating enhances its performance and provides improved corrosion resistance compared to pure zinc coatings.
- Corrosion resistance: The primary advantage of zinc-nickel electroplating is its superior corrosion resistance compared to traditional zinc plating. The nickel content in the alloy enhances the protective properties of the coating, making it more resistant to various corrosive environments, including saltwater, acidic conditions, and high humidity. This corrosion resistance is especially beneficial for applications in automotive, aerospace, and marine industries.
- Sacrificial protection: Zinc-nickel coatings also exhibit sacrificial protection characteristics, similar to zinc coatings. In the presence of corrosive elements, such as moisture or chemicals, the zinc component of the alloy corrodes preferentially to protect the underlying metal substrate. This sacrificial behavior helps to prevent the base metal from corroding, extending the lifespan of the coated part.
- Galvanic Corrosion Resistance: Galvanic corrosion occurs when two different metals are electrically connected in the presence of an electrolyte, such as water or a corrosive solution. Galvanic corrosion resistance refers to the ability of a material or a component to withstand or minimize corrosion when it comes into contact with a dissimilar metal in a galvanic couple. Materials with similar electrochemical properties are less likely to create a galvanic couple and therefore have better galvanic corrosion resistance. Zinc nickel’s ability to withstand or minimize corrosion when it encounters a dissimilar metal in a galvanic couple is why it is known for its galvanic corrosion resistance.
- Thickness and coating properties: Zinc-nickel electroplating can achieve a wide range of coating thicknesses, typically ranging from 5 to 25 microns, depending on the specific application. The thickness of the coating can be controlled to meet the desired level of corrosion resistance and other functional requirements. The alloy composition also contributes to the hardness and wear resistance of the coating, making it suitable for applications where durability is essential.
Overall, zinc-nickel electroplating offers improved corrosion resistance, sacrificial protection, and suitable aesthetics compared to traditional zinc plating. These qualities make it a preferred choice for various industries, including automotive, aerospace, electronics, and military, where protection against corrosion is critical.
DeKalb Metal Plating Company
Because we at DeKalb Metal specialize in zinc, zinc nickel, and zinc iron plating, we know which will be the best to use for your parts based on your specifications. Contact our experts to discuss your plating needs and find out why we are the best at what we do.