Aluminum Electroplating on Aluminum Alloys
High Purity Aluminum Improves the Surface Properties of Aluminum Alloys.
AlumiPlate® Aluminum can be plated onto wrought, cast and specialty aluminum alloys.
Aluminum alloys are used in many applications due to their combination of light weight, mechanical properties and ease of fabrication. Wrought aluminum is alloyed with different elements for improved and better controlled physical properties. Cast alloys can reduce machining costs and lead time, offering the advantage of little to no machining with near-net-shape casting. Specialty alloys are custom formulated based on specific application requirements.
A coating of electroplated aluminum can be used to further protect or improve usability of aluminum alloys in severe or atypical environments.
AlumiPlate, Inc. has developed robust plating recipes for most common engineered aluminum grades. Plating processes for specialty and emerging grades are developed as-needed.
- All wrought Al alloys can be plated (1XXX, 2XXX, 3XXX, 4XXX, 5XXX, 6XXX, 7XXX, 8XXX, 9XXX).
- Common aerospace and structural grades, like Al 2011, AL 2014, Al 2017, Al 2024, Al 5052, Al 5083, Al 5086, Al 6061 and Al 7075, can survive demanding marine environments and exhibit longer lifetimes when plated with pure aluminum.
- High purity aluminum can be used to replace Al 1100 – Al 1199 for applications where mechanical cladding is not viable.
- Higher strength pure alloys (Al 3003, Al 5005, Al 6060, Al 6061, Al 6063) can cause contamination in environments that are sensitive to minutes levels of contaminants, for example semiconductor processing and vacuum environments. Electroplated aluminum can stop contamination by combatting corrosion in corrosive HF gases and plasmas. Furthermore, the dense pure aluminum layer acts as an effective barrier to diffusion of substrate aluminum alloy impurities in high temperature processes (up to 450 °C).
- AlumiPlate Inc. has developed the patent-pending AlumiPlate ABL™ Adhesion Bond Layer that allows for direct plating and complete anodization of Al 6061 and other important semiconductor and aerospace aluminum grades.
- Cast alloys (1XX.X, 2XX.X, 3XX.X, 4XX.X, 5XX.X, 6XX.X, 7.XXX, 8XX.X, 9XX.X) are plateable if they contain minimum porosity, or if the surface porosity is closed prior to aluminum plating.
- Common cast and diecast Al alloys (Al 256, Al 356, A356, Al 383) plated with high purity aluminum can replace more expensive and less fabricable wrought alloys.
- Specialty alloys such as aluminum beryllium (AlBeMet162®1) CE-10, and CE-17 are used for stiffness or strength-to-weight requirements. The mechanical properties of these alloys are complemented by the corrosion resistance, ductility, high adhesion and electrical conductivity of 99.99% pure aluminum (sometimes called Al4N or “four-nines-pure).
- Alloying elements in wrought, cast and specialty alloys degrade the corrosion resistance of the material as the alloy rich areas are cathodically protected by the aluminum rich areas. The compositional differences can lead to pitting corrosion in severe environments or galvanic corrosion with other aluminum alloys. A thin layer of electroplated aluminum stops galvanic corrosion and protects the base aluminum alloy.
- Furthermore, some aluminum grades are multi-phased or alloyed with elements that may complicate or degrade the effectiveness of common aluminum surface treatments and finishing techniques. Anodizing (sulfuric, mixed acid, oxalic, hardcoat and cosmetic), plasma electrolytic oxidation, conversion coatings, electropolishing, bright dips, texturing, blasting and many other techniques are enhanced and become consistent when done on the AlumiPlate® aluminum coating.
Contact us to discuss how electroplating for cast aluminum alloys can protect and improve the surface finish of your material.
1 AlBeMet®162 is a registered trademark of Materion Corp.