Choosing the right plating material for a specific application is utterly essential. Each material offers unique benefits, meaning that some materials offer durability, whereas others have heightened conductivity. Picking a plating material should be based on the specific functions of your application, as well as considering the environment, it will operate in. Below is a general overview of commonly used plating materials and their benefits.
Gold is a desirable choice, but it is more on the expensive side when compared to other similar plating materials. The added cost is not without its benefits because gold is best for low voltage and current applications. Gold also offers low wear, making it extremely reliable when working for extended periods in harsh environments.
Silver is another great choice, and it is known as a noble metal. Silver has the highest thermal and electrical conductivity of all plating metals, and it also has low contact resistance. Silver is often used to create lighting, connectors, and sensors.
Tin is not in the noble category of metals. It is known to oxidize when exposed to air. Tin is an ideal plating material when engineers need high levels of solderability at a low cost. It is also great for press-fit contacts.
Copper greatly enhances the electrical conductivity of the metal. This material is often seen as a secondary option instead of silver. You must be careful because this material is prone to corrosion that negatively impacts conductivity.
There are many options to choose between when plating metal, so you need to take the time to ensure you utilize materials that amplify characteristics and performance.