Due to the versatility of the metal, copper plating has many uses throughout several industrial sectors. Capable of being deposited on most metals, copper offers excellent electrical and thermal conductivity qualities. Copper can also be used in some cases as a ‘build up’ metallic layer on components where no great mechanical loading would be applied over the duration of their working life. One of this metal’s unique properties allows copper to be used as a ‘stopping off’ barrier where components require exposed areas to be case hardened, thereby maintaining the coated region’s relative softness underneath and allowing further machining.
Like copper, silver plating is a process which offers benefits to many diverse industrial sectors. Renowned for its excellent electrical conductivity qualities, silver is also a very lubricous metal for aerospace components, offering resistance against rubbing wear on bearings. Silver is also widely requested as a finish to protect threads from seizing or galling, particularly on stainless steel or aluminium manufactured components.
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Tin plating is a process used to protect ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Tin is used widely in the electronics industry because of its ductility and ability to not only offer protection to the component, but also to enable items to be soldered afterwards. Whilst not as successful as an electrical conductor as silver, tin is popular in many process industries, in particular food, because of its non-toxicity.