Electroplating is a great way to protect parts from corrosion and improve their overall look, and plating with zinc and iron is one popular and economical way to do it. Zinc iron electroplating is a fairly simple process that yields a good number of benefits for the finished product. With this in mind, there are a number of different industries, particularly those that use vehicles, that make good use of parts plated with zinc and iron.
The Electroplating Process
Electroplating is essentially the same no matter which metals are used for plating. The idea is to submerge the plating material and the material being plated into an alkaline electrolyte solution and run an electrical current through it. The current will move ions from the plating material onto the material being plated. While plating with zinc and iron uses the basic process, it can get slightly more complicated when coating with metals that don’t release ions as easily, such as gold. For these metals, it’s necessary to dissolve them first with harsh chemicals before beginning the plating process.
Properties of Zinc Iron Plating
A plating of zinc and iron usually contains .4 to .8 percent iron, with the rest being zinc. The plating is exceptionally fine grained, burn free, low stressed and blister free, and the finished piece can be welded fairly easily. The plating covers the piece thoroughly and uniformly and provides protection not just against corrosion, but abrasion as well. The plating is economical compared to other coatings and it makes it very easy to apply clear or black passivation. Plated pieces often have a softer finish than other types of zinc plating and they usually have a rich dark iron color that is pleasing to the eye.
Applications for Zinc Iron Plating
Zinc Iron Plating is used extensively in the automotive industry, with companies like Ford, Chrysler, General Motors and Honda (among others) establishing specific standards for zinc iron plated pieces. Similarly, the transportation industry uses parts plated with zinc and iron for busses, semis and light trucks. This type of plating is also commonly used for appliances, firefighting equipment, railway equipment, and construction fasteners.
The experts at Dekalb Metal Finishing provide a variety of different finishing options. Visit www.dekalbmetal.com to learn more.