The Basics Of Tin Plating

Manufacturers looking for a particular finish at a reasonable cost have many choices. Among the more popular is tin plating. The reasons are actually quite simple. Tin electroplating is viewed favorably by many as a functional, decorative and inexpensive finish for their components of products.

What Is Tin Plating?

Tin plating is a common practice. Like other forms of electroplating, the process involves electrodepositing a quite thin layer of metal – in this case tin, on a base or substrate metal (or plastic). The purpose of their procedure is to provide the substrate surface with the characteristic properties of the metal chosen to be the coating.

What Metals Commonly Act as Substrates?

Tin plating is an action provided to make the substrate metals “better” or more resistant. Certain metals commonly act as substrates in the process. The two most favored are:

1. Iron

2. Steel

Why Industries Choose Tin Plating

Tin acts as the coating layer for several reasons. The most commonly given are:

Non-Toxic: This makes it ideal for producing food containers such as the proverbial tin can

Good Resistance to Corrosion

Excellent Solderability

Improves Anti-Galling Characteristics

Acts as an Excellent Stop-Off Barrier: This is for the surface hardening (nitriding) of certain types of steel and steel alloys

Tin plating can be deposited as a color ranging from gray white to matte to bright. It relies upon the specific process utilized by the electroplating company.

However, in spite of its benefits, it is important to consider where not to use tin plating. It is also essential that the finishing company be fully aware of the potential issues involved in the process.

Issues with Tin Plating

When it comes to using tin plating, technicians need to be completely aware of any issues with the process. In the case of tin electroplating, there are two significant one. They find their basis in the properties or characteristics of the metal.

1. Tin is very soft: It is also ductile. This makes it unsuitable for use in applications where the component or item will function in a low temperature

2. Metal whiskers: As is the case with other metals, e.g. zinc and cadmium, tin can grow whiskers. These may not appear immediately. In fact, they may crop up in a few weeks or after several years

Care must be taken to avoid such situations. In the case of whiskers, its development in the parts of electronic equipment can result in short outs. The solution used to be to add lead to the tin plating process. More recently, because of the perceived dangers of lead in many components, a new approach is used. A fusing (tin reflow) is performed following the tin electroplating.

Tin Plating

Tin electroplating is a commonly used application to provide a substrate metal such as steel or iron with certain desirable characteristics. It can be both decorative and protective in its finish. Yet, undoubtedly, one of the most attractive characteristics of tin plating to its supporting manufacturers is its inexpensive cost.

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    Author: Greene Connor

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