Electroless Nickel Plating as an Alternative to Galvanisation

What is galvanisation?

When a metal is galvanised, a protective zinc coating is applied to it. This zinc coating is applied to steel or iron in order to prevent rusting.

Galvanising is used predominantly for protecting metals such as steel or iron with a coat of zinc. Galvanisation is an effective way of preventing the ferrous item from rusting, as the corrosion resistance of zinc is much higher than iron or steel.

It is also a cheap process, easily applied and has a long maintenance – free service life.

How is galvanisation achieved?

The most common method of galvanisation is called hot-dip galvanisation. Hot dip galvanisation is the process of submerging the steel parts in a bath of molten zinc. However, this process is also achievable through electrochemical and electrodeposition processes.

There are some differences between these processes. Hot-dip galvanisation produces a grey, matte coating to the surface of the metal, which is very thick and durable. Electroplated coatings are less durable and unsuitable for outdoor applications because of the thinness of the deposit. This can be overcome to some extent by painting the surface which slows down zinc consumption, therefore delaying the corrosion and extending its durability.

Electroplating on its own is cheaper than hot dip zinc coating. Therefore it is used for a number of outdoor applications, as it looks good when new, despite its relatively short durability and low resistance to the elements.

Electroless nickel plating as an alternative to galvanising.

Electroless nickel plating can be used as an alternative to galvanisation as it is both durable AND aesthetically pleasing. Not only does electroless nickel plating provide enough corrosion resistance to be used in harsh environments, the uniform coating it creates can be a perfect solution for critical high-end engineering items such as those used in the defence, healthcare, automotive and aerospace industries.

Electroless nickel plating is also much cheaper than you would imagine, considering the extent of its durability, and the wear resistance of the surface can be increased by using heat treatments. This makes it an ideal specialist plating where friction and wear may be problematic with regard to the use of the component.

To find out more about electroless nickel plating and how it can be used as an alternative to galvanisation, please visit our website at http://www.electroless-nickel-plating.co.uk

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