Plating Zinc Alloys



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This column marks the end of my eighth year of attempting to give straightforward responses to day-to-day issues that arise in the electroplating arena. It is challenging at times but very enjoyable. All of the questions are real. Yes, I do edit if necessary and change people’s initials to help maintain anonymity.

I have learned that certain questions reappear on a regular basis and many problems and questions are easily answered in the format afforded by this column. Those that are not suitable for use in the column are usually handled via direct e-mail and/or phone discussions. Some questions are such that they can only be handled on a consulting basis. I will continue to respond to questions and problems in a timely manner and with information that can help solve your problems.

Information sources


Currently we only plate acid zinc but realize we are missing out on potential business by not being able to offer zinc/nickel, zinc/cobalt or zinc/iron plating. Where can I find more info on these processes? M.B.


The zinc alloy plating processes are now widely used in the plating industry. Two of the main drivers for this are the demand for better corrosion protection and to find suitable replacements for the classic cadmium deposit. There are a number of different plating baths that are part of this group: Zinc/nickel, zinc/iron, zinc/cobalt and tin/zinc. Zinc/nickel/iron and zinc/cobalt/iron alloys are also available.

These plating baths are available commercially. Vendors can be found by looking in the Products Finishing Directory & Technology Guide or by accessing www.pfonline.com/suppliers.html.

There are a number of published articles that give an excellent overview of these alloy plating processes. The above-mentioned Directory has a good article starting on page 66 or you can visit www.pfonline.com/articles/pfd0313.html. If you search the PF Online, you will come up with a number of articles and papers. One in particular, Zinc Alloy Plating, has an excellent discussion on these materials. Another source of information is the Metal Finishing Guidebook & Directory, which has a section on these alloy plating baths.


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