Cadmium Plating for Aerospace and Defense

Cadmium plating - military submarine at rest.

Cadmium Plating for Aerospace and Defense

Even at low thicknesses, cadmium plating provides its excellent corrosion resistance to the underlying substrate. Typically, cad plating is divided into three types based on post-plating treatment. CRC proudly offers all three types of cadmium plating to our partners in the aerospace and defense industries.

What is Cadmium Plating?

Cadmium plating, also known as “cad plating,” is an electroplating process that creates a sacrificial coating. The plating will corrode before the underlying substrate of steel, copper, iron, brass, or aluminum.

Cad plating is widely used for plating in aerospace and defense applications that require additional corrosion resistance. Codified under federal specification AMS-QQ-P-416, it utilizes the cadmium that is a byproduct of zinc, lead, and copper production and chromate salts.

Cad plating provides a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Resistance to corrosion caused by marine or alkaline environments
  • Resistance to mold and bacterial growth
  • Galvanic compatibility with aluminum
  • Malleability and ductility
  • Exceptional conductivity

Cad plating comes in three types and three classifications, based on the coating’s thickness according to federal specifications.

  • Type I is silver cadmium that receives no further post-treatment.
  • Type II receives supplementary chromate treatment that produces a bright yellow color. This supplementary chromate treatment renders the metal surface chemically inactive, electrically neutral, and immune to galvanic corrosion.
  • Type III uses supplementary phosphate treatment as a pretreatment to provide excellent adhesion and electric isolation.

The thickness classifications are graded A, B, and C.

  • Grade A products require a minimum thickness of .0005”.
  • Grade B products require a minimum of .0003”.
  • Grade C products require a minimum of .0002”.

What Are the Defense Applications?

Because of its corrosion resistance in saltwater environments, defense contractors regularly use cad plating in their work. Due to their regular exposure to saltwater, steel fasteners on military vessels such as submarines commonly need cadmium plating. This helps to ensure that corrosion will not cause them to fail and introduce critical defects to a vessel’s hull.

What Are the Aerospace Applications?

When working with steel and aluminum parts, cadmium plating helps provide reliability by preventing corrosion. Plating everything from engine parts to bolts and landing gear pieces is integral to a safe, successful flight.

Seeking Cadmium Plating Services?

CRC is a proud metal finishing contractor that can service both regional and national manufacturers. We provide cadmium plating alongside many other services required by our partners in the aerospace and defense industries. Contact our team at 602-288-6190 to start discussing how our services can satisfy your metal finishing needs.

Photo by Marc-Antoine Déry on Unsplash.