What is the difference between the “homebrew” zincate process and the commercially available zincate processes? Can one process be substituted for another without causing problems in the finished product? M.J.
There are many different “recipes” for the zincate process chemistry used in the electroplating of aluminum substrates. These recipes consist of varying amounts of zinc oxide, sodium hydroxide, ferric chloride and rochelle salt (potassium sodium tartrate). These homebrew zincate solutions will perform adequately if formulated and used properly.
In my opinion the proprietary formulations, for example, Alumon D (zinc/copper alloy deposit), Alumon N (zinc/copper/nickel alloy deposit) or Bondal (zinc/copper/nickel/iron alloy) are more reliable and effective. I almost always recommend proprietary formulated solutions because of the better quality control and the more detailed use procedures.
Whether one can substitute a homebrew zincate for a proprietary, one depends on your customer’s understanding of the process. Over the years the term Bondal has become synonymous with the zincating process. Your customer may use the term Bondal to mean any zincate process or may specifically require the Bondal process.