An introduction to zinc nickel coating and its benefits

The application of zinc nickel coating is often used to deliver corrosion resistance. It is a process found in components for the motor industry, the aerospace sector, agricultural and construction equipment, and items that are used offshore.

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One of the advantages of this kind of coating is that other treatments can be successfully applied on top. These include silicate sealants and lubricants, paints and powder coatings.

Corrosion protection

The use of zinc nickel coating surface treatments has a number of benefits. The biggest is that it delivers a high level of corrosion protection even at high temperatures. This is one of the reasons why it is popular in the motor industry, as it is perfect for under the bonnet components.

The coating has the added benefit that it looks good. The resulting surface is bright and free from burns and blisters. Even if it does eventually start to corrode, very little corrosion is produced and components continue to look good and function effectively.

A further benefit is that steel parts coated just in zinc can create a galvanic cell when they come into contact with aluminium. Zinc nickel coating means that the steel does not do this, so it is a good replacement for the toxic cadmium coatings often used in the aerospace sector.

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Wear resistance

In addition to guarding against corrosion, zinc nickel surface treatments from specialists such as have other benefits; for example, as the coating has a consistently smooth finish, it offers increased wear resistance.

The coating is hard and has a surface with almost no irregularities, so this cuts friction and abrasion. On the industry standard Vickers hardness scale, zinc nickel coated components have a rating of 450, whereas conventional zinc coatings score just 150.

This surface hardness also means that the product’s corrosion resistance is maintained even when the component is bent or shaped.

As manufacturers increasingly look to give their products a longer life – often driven by regulations – zinc nickel coatings can help to make components last much longer before they need replacement. This has the spin-off benefit that it reduces warranty claims and therefore cuts costs.

The coating can also help to cut manufacturing costs, as zinc nickel coated steel can be used in place of more expensive materials to ensure corrosion resistance.

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