Zinc, which has a distinctive bluish-white tinge and a brilliant shine, is one of the most extensively used metals in the surface finishing industry.
Zinc plating provides a soft and anti-corrosive covering around the substrate, preventing
oxidation of the substrate (metal that is to be guarded) by forming a protective anti-corrosive barrier around it. Unlike other metal plating techniques, it actually shields the object by acting as a sacrificial coating that prolongs the life of the basis metal, which – when exposed – gets effected before the object and therefore prevents its corrosion. It is also known as electroplating or galvanization.
What makes it particularly popular commercially is the fact that it is not only very effective but also amongst the most affordable forms of plating.
Zinc Plating is also done in combination with other metals like nickel, cobalt and tin for zinc plating. Zinc plating is however most widely used commercially for plating iron and steel, but is also used to protect finished products – ranging from structural steelwork for buildings and bridges, to nuts, bolts, screws, strips, sheets, wires and tubes.
Commercial Uses of Zinc Plating
Zinc plating technology has been used in the automotive industry for a long time across
Many zinc plating processes have been extensively used for heavy electrical transmission components.
Metal parts or structures that are used in engineering products or for the purpose of providing linkages and anchorage, and therefore having a propensity to be excessively exposed to natural elements or oxidation or chemical corrosion, are ideal candidates for zinc plating. Good examples of such cases would be nuts and bolts, ship anchors or cleats, or for that matter, any metal fixtures that spend majority of their productive life on the highways or the high seas. Zinc plating on such objects gives additional protection by providing a highly resistant anti-corrosive film, thus increasing their longevity.
Another popular use of zinc plating is in the coaxial TV cable connector, which is assembled within the aluminum hosing. These connectors are used both indoors and outdoors. Alkaline zinc-nickel plating used here is actually also an environmentally safer substitute.
This is another industry which heavily depends on plating. Traditionally, cadmium has been used for plating, but it is not environment friendly and it’s anti corrosion property breaks down when exposed to heat. This has therefore given way to zinc plating as a much better option. Plating fasteners in zinc- nickel plating is therefore now a fast- growing industry.
Zinc plating is also finding its due place in manufacturing of tanks and armored personnel carriers, with additional research going on in this area so as to find new avenues of its application.