Making Industrial Changes

Electroplating And Porosity: What You Need To Know

Electroplated surfaces need to be smooth and consistent in order to perform properly. Any imperfections within the surface of the electroplating material could lead to premature failure or corrosion of the base metal beneath the electroplated layer.

Porosity is one of the primary flaws that can occur after electroplating. Understanding this imperfection will allow you to recognize the importance of eliminating porosity in the future.

What is Porosity?

It's easy to overlook porosity because this type of imperfection is imperceptible to the naked eye. Porosity is essentially microscopic defects in an electroplated finish. Although porosity can typically only be viewed using a scanning electron microscope, the effects of porosity on electroplated materials can become very apparent over time.

What are the Effects of Porosity?

The impact porosity can have on your finished products can be devastating. Products that need to perform in harsh environments are particularly susceptible to damage caused by porosity. When the pores reach all the way through the electroplating to the base metal, corrosion can occur. Corrosion creep, which is when corrosion spreads across the surface of the base metal beneath the electroplated layer, is also a concern.

Porosity also has the potential to decrease the strength, durability, and ductility of your products as they are exposed to the elements over time.

How Can Porosity be Prevented?

Preventing porosity and limiting the negative effects this type of defect can have on your products should be a top priority. There are a few things that you can do to help ensure your electroplating is solid and secure.

First, you can reduce the roughness of your base metal before electroplating takes place. Imperfections and roughness that exist on the surface of your base metal can easily translate to porosity once electroplating is complete. Take the time to polish all your base metals before electroplating to eliminate porosity.

Second, you can apply an underplate. While this option doesn't necessarily prevent porosity, it can negate the corrosive effects of porosity over time. Any pores that form during electroplating will stop at the underplate layer, preventing corrosion from affecting your products.

Plating defects, like porosity, can compromise the quality and performance of your products over time. It's important that you are proactive in taking steps to prevent porosity if you want to eliminate the damaging effects corrosion can have on your plated components in the future. 

For more information contact an electroplating contractor in your area.