There are a number of options to consider when it comes to metal plating. It has been used for a number of years and silver plating was at one time a symbol for wealth, as well as functional use in a number of industrial uses. Silver has more applications than any other metal used for plating purposes. It can be used in virtually any industry, making it indispensable. What this means is that it is nearly impossible to use another metal in place of silver.
Another note about silver plating is that it is the most affordable option. Compared to palladium and gold, it is 1/25th and 1/60th of the current market prices. The primary important features include its thermal and electrical conductivity as well as light reflectance of all other known metals. It has the lowest melting point and weight of any of the various precious metals. Some of the other benefits include how easy it is to manufacture silver parts and its ability to alloy it with a number of other metals, including tin and aluminum.
When is the Right Time to Use Silver Plating?
Silver plating needs to be the first option for an engineer when looking to use any type of precious metal. This is because it is much more affordable than other precious metals – such as platinum and gold. Another reason that you should choose silver plating is that it can increase a products lifecycle quite a bit by providing a replacement for the material of choice with a coat of tin alloy. Tin is very often referred to as the ‘poor man’s silver;’ however it does not have any of the corrosion resistance or conductivity of silver and will melt at temperatures that are much lower than silver. Also, silver is harder than any of its alloys.
Selecting the Right Type of Silver Plating
There are a number of options of silver plating so it is important to consider some of the specifications that are available. In some cases, this will require the input of a professional or someone who works with this material on a regular basis.
Potential Problems with Silver Plating
Prior to plating, it is crucial to ensure that all the parts to be plated are free from tensile stress, cracks and pits, hydrogen embrittlement or other inclusions or tool mars. If these are not handled properly prior to plating then it can cause reel issues during or even after the plating process. These may go completely unnoticed until the product reaches the consumer.
Taking consideration of all the plating processes, there are a number of benefits offered by silver plating, with the most appealing being its low cost. When looking for the right option for your application, be sure to keep this in mind.