Conductive Copper Plating
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.
The primary reason for copper plating is to improve the conductivity of a substrate, copper is highly conductive – only Silver is a more effective metal at conducting electricity. As a soft metal, copper is also malleable and so has the inherent flexibility to maintain adhesion even if a substrate is subject to being bent and manipulated post plating. When electroplated, copper provides a smooth and even coverage which therefore provides an excellent base for additional coating or plating processes. Corrosion resistance is another advantage to copper. Although copper is not as effective at resisting corrosion as nickel and so is commonly used as a base layer for nickel if enhanced corrosion protection is needed; typically the case for materials that are required to work in marine and subsea environments. Lastly, copper has anti-bacterial properties and so is used in some medical applications
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