Six common surface treatments

In surface engineering, a substance can be applied to a surface or substrate to make it more suitable for engineering tasks. There are a number.

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Zinc, nickel and galvanised metal

Zinc plating is commonly found, especially on light springs. It makes them more resistant to corrosion, especially when combined with other sealers such as chromates.

Nickel is another popular substance and delivers a hard coating. This is effective but not suitable for springs or a substrate that may be subject to considerable twisting, as cracking may occur. If you would like to learn more about nickel mining and where this metal is found, there is an excellent article in the Guardian.

Galvanising is another alternative for metal wire and strips, especially when resistance to corrosion is desired. Galvanising is a hot process that is carried out before drawing or rolling.

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Tin, chrome and silvering

Tin is often chosen when soldering needs to be easy. It is also a high performer when looking for corrosion resistance.

Chrome plating is hard and can give a very shiny result, which makes it an excellent choice when a decorative finish is required. As the surface is extremely hard, it is very durable and can deliver a surface with low friction when this is needed. In general, chrome plating is not advised for springs.

Silvering, also known as gilding, is carried out by surface engineering specialists when a decorative result is required. It is also resistant to corrosion and is found in a wide variety of electronic products, as it looks very smart and delivers an excellent result where high electrical conductivity is desired. If you want to find surface engineering specialists to assist with a project you are undertaking, contact an expert in the field such as for advice.

There are many options available in surface engineering; however, this is not something to try at home. The processes can involve toxic components and machinery, which require expert supervision; therefore, experts in surface engineering should always be consulted before embarking on any projects of this type. Choosing the right substance to apply to your substrate also requires planning, as the right choice is fundamental to good results.

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