Electroplating is a common method of improving the quality and characteristics of certain metal and even plastic components. The range of techniques and metals is extensive. In fact, almost any metal can be plated and many can act as the film or covering agent. From common metals such as tin to such rare metals as platinum, plating companies provide a necessary service. This is certainly true for companies that do zinc plating.
What Is Zinc?
Zinc (Zn) is considered a common as opposed to a precious metal. It is bluish white in color. It is not valued for its appearance. Instead, it is desirable for those who have steel products, for its ability act as a sacrificial metal. Yet, zinc, long before it was recognized as a separate element, was being used to produce other metals.
Zinc has been an integral part of the production of several other metal alloys including two well known and ancient ones:
In fact, zinc was a silent partner in the production of brass for several thousands of years. It was not actually discovered until the 15th century and then needed to be rediscovered in the 18th century. This was accomplished by Andreas Sigismund Marggraf (1709-1782), a German chemist. Although it was not considered his major work – this was with sugar beets, he did isolate zinc, utilizing a distilling process, he created using calamine.
Uses of Zinc Plating
Zinc has been used for centuries as a protective coating. It is applied to another base or substrate metal to improve or add resistance to the substrate. Zinc plating is coveted for its ability to provide a finishing that provides protection against corrosion. Unlike some metals, however, zinc does this by sacrificing itself. The zinc covering slowly tarnishes, losing its brightness. It corrodes and a white powder is revealed. This makes zinc electroplating requested by certain component manufacturers – particularly those who use iron or steel. Zinc plating proves to be particularly effective in this role under conditions of high levels of humidity and moisture.
Application of zinc electroplating in industrial processes includes:
Dry cell batteries
Sheet metal stampings
Car, trucks and other vehicular bodies in the automotive industry
Manufacturers often choose zinc to cover their iron or steel components. It is common for many reasons. Together with its low cost, zinc electroplating provides and promotes resistance to the corrosive elements these products face in their environment on a daily basis. In addition to the potential for protection is the choice of a fashionable color to accompany it. Overall, zinc plating provides a popular and attractive finish for a variety of products at a cost-effective price.