What is the difference between plating and coating?


At first glance, plating and coating might appear to fulfil the same purpose of providing a secondary protective or decorative layer to various materials; however, a closer examination reveals distinct differences in their processes and outcomes, making each suited to specific applications. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two processes.

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Understanding electroplating

Electroplating involves passing an electric current through an electrolyte solution to deposit a thin layer of metal, such as nickel, onto an object. This technique not only enhances the object’s appearance but also imbues it with desirable properties, such as increased resistance to corrosion, improved electrical conductivity, and enhanced durability.

Electroless nickel coating, a subset of electroplating, provides a uniform layer without the need for an external power source. This makes it ideal for the complex shapes and high-precision parts used in industries from aerospace to telecommunications. Surface engineering specialists such as https://www.poeton.co.uk/standard-treatments/electroless-nickel-plating can provide more information.

Exploring coating techniques

Unlike electroplating, coating typically refers to the application of a non-metallic layer – such as a powder or paint – onto a surface. This method employs electrostatic charging and heat curing to create a durable, protective finish. Science Direct explains what electrostatic charging is used for.

Although it lacks the conductivity and metal-specific benefits of electroplating, coating offers significant advantages in terms of strength and aesthetic versatility. It is widely used on household appliances and everyday items, providing a hard finish that is superior to traditional paint.

Understanding the differences between plating and coating, especially when it comes to specialised processes such as electroless nickel coating, is crucial for selecting the right finishing technique for any project.

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By carefully considering the intended use and desired properties of the finished product, you can ensure optimal performance and durability.

Written by suNCh8

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