27 Jan What’s the Difference Between Cadmium and Zinc Nickel Plating?
When it comes to electroplating, every metal has slightly different properties. Zinc-nickel plating and cadmium plating offer many significant yet similar advantages. So how do you know when to choose zinc-nickel plating vs. cadmium for your manufacturing needs? Let’s explore the difference between zinc nickel and cadmium plating to help you select the right finish for the job.
The Difference Between Zinc Nickel and Cadmium Plating
What Is Cadmium Plating?
The cadmium electroplating process applies a thin, metallic, silver-colored coating that offers superior protection from the elements. As a “sacrificial coating,” cadmium plating slowly corrodes over time, while protecting the metal substrate underneath from corrosion and other types of wear. Cadmium plating can be used on a variety of base metals, including aluminum, brass, copper, iron, and steel.
Cadmium Applications and Benefits
Cadmium offers many impressive benefits that significantly improve the quality of the base metal. Cadmium plating provides:
- Exceptional corrosion resistance
- Increased lubricity
- Better chemical resistance
- Excellent solderability
- Improved ductility
- High electrical conductivity
These advantages make cadmium a desirable coating for applications spanning a wide range of industries. For example, its built-in lubricity helps prevent machine parts from galling, and its high conductivity and solderability make it useful in the electronics industry.
Cadmium is highly resistant to corrosion from salt water, so it’s an ideal coating for parts used in the aerospace and defense industries. And its superior corrosion resistance is also important in the automotive industry.
Zinc Nickel as a Safe Alternative to Cadmium
Despite its many benefits, cadmium can be extremely dangerous unless it’s handled properly. It has been banned by the European Union and heavily limited to certain applications in the United States, such as electroplating for the aerospace and defense industries.
However, zinc-nickel plating is an environmentally safe alternative that offers many of the same advantages as cadmium. In fact, zinc-nickel plating has been recently approved as a substitute for cadmium landing gears.
Zinc-nickel electroplating provides a protective, sacrificial coating, just like cadmium. It also offers excellent corrosion resistance and ductility. However, a major difference is that zinc-nickel has high hardness and is resistant to high temperatures, while cadmium is soft and not as heat-resistant.
Because zinc-nickel plating and cadmium are so similar, they are used in many of the same industries, such as aerospace and defense. Zinc-nickel plating is often used for landing gears, bushings, and actuators.
Cadmium and Zinc-Nickel Plating in Phoenix, Arizona
Whether you’re interested in cadmium plating or you are looking for a safer alternative, CRC Surface Technologies can help. We offer cadmium plating, zinc-nickel plating, and over thirty other metal plating solutions to regional and national machine shops.