Zinc Plating Baths

What are the differences between acid zinc and alkaline non-cyanide zinc plating baths?


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Q. What are the basic differences between the various types of zinc plating baths? One of our vendors wants to start plating our parts using an acid zinc type bath instead of the alkaline non-cyanide bath used in the past. What differences can I expect? –T.T.

A. There are a number of differences between the two types of zinc plating baths you mention. Space does not allow a complete comparison between types but here are a few differences.

Acid Zinc Type

Alkaline Non-Cyanide Type

Bright deposit. Reasonable substitute for bright nickel.

Lower brightness compared to acid zinc bath. Parts are usually chromated after plating. Deposit is darker than other zinc deposits.

Excellent leveling ability.

Poor leveling ability.

Minimal hydrogen embrittlement.

Lower efficiencies. More likely to have hydrogen embrittlement problems.

Poorer ductility, especially in thicker deposits.

Deposits have less ductility than any other zinc deposit.


As you can see, the two types of zinc finishes are not completely interchangeable. You as the customer have to decide which properties are of the most importance to you and than sit down and have a discussion with your plating vendor.

 You can find a huge amount of additional information searching the database at PFOnline using the terms “zinc plating.”