Understanding Conductive Metal Coatings

Playing a role in numerous industries today is the requirement of conductivity. Industries such as telecommunications, aerospace, and electronics rely on conductivity in any number of situations. Conductive metal coatings are used in these industries. But conductivity comes in numerous kinds. For example:

  • To allow, without resistance, electrical current to pass through a material is referred to as electrical conductivity.
  • A material’s ability to transmit heat is referred to as thermal conductivity.

Generally speaking, a material will have a high electrical conductivity if it exhibits high thermal conductivity.

A Closer Look at Conductivity

Conductivity varies based on external conditions and between different materials. Conductivity is impacted by the following factors:

  • External electromagnetic fields
  • Temperature
  • Size
  • Shape, and more

Additionally, conductivity can be decreased, and electron flow hindered by substance impurities.

To some degree, most metals conduct electricity and heat – some more than others, however. When electroplating, one important factor to consider is conductivity. If you desire a final product that can conduct electricity or heat well, the conductive metal coating you choose must stand up to your application’s unique demands.

Available Metal Coatings That Are the Most Conductive

You can make or break the functional success of a component by choosing the proper level of conductivity held by a specific metal. In industrial settings, used on substrates for electroplating are the following conductive metals:

  • Platinum – Frequently used to provide a protective coating, platinum is a precious metal that guards other metals against corrosion. Making it suitable for high thermal conductivity applications is platinum’s extremely high melting point.
  • Nickel – To increase corrosion and wear resistance, and frequently used to add thickness, nickel (another conductive metal) can be applied to surfaces.
  • Zinc – Compared to silver, copper, and gold, a lesser conductivity is held by zinc. However, because other metals can be more expensive, it may be preferred for its affordability. Great durability and good conductivity are offered by zinc.
  • Gold – Gold is ideal for coating etched circuits, printed circuits, connectors, semi-conductors, and more thanks to its stable contact resistance, wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and high conductivity. Offering the most benefits for products that need conductivity, gold may well be worth its higher price in many instances.
  • Copper – Copper’s single valence electron, like silver, makes it a metal that is highly conductive. Excellent corrosion resistance is also offered by copper. These coatings are used in printed circuit boards, semi-conductors, and other applications where the importance of electrical conductivity is stressed.
  • Silver – Thanks to single valence electron and its unique crystal structure, silver conducts electricity and heat efficiently. Compared to other metals, it is the single most conductive. It is ideal for coating conductors in telecom applications, mirrors, and contacts because it offers excellent optical reflectivity and low contact wear resistance. Silver coatings are used less often than gold and copper coatings, however, because they tarnish so easily.

Where Can You Turn for Conductive Coatings?

If any of the above-listed conductive coatings sound like something your business should be taking advantage of, speak to one of our specialists. We can fill you in as to how each coating is used in various industries and help you decide which would best serve your purposes. Contact us today if you’d like to discover how A&A Coatings can be of assistance with the conductive coatings you need.

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