The Wide Variety of Metal Coatings

Metals are a part of our daily lives, but what many people don’t realize is that the metal they’re so familiar with in most cases is not the original product – a coating has been applied. Metal coatings are used when a metal needs protection from corrosion. They also improve the appearance of any piece of metal.

The perfect type of coating will vary depending upon the desired goal. Here are some examples:

Anodizing
This coating is most often found on aluminum but can be used with zinc and titanium as well. Anodizing increases the layer of aluminum oxide that forms when a piece of aluminum is exposed to air, making it more resistant to corrosion. But ferrous metals can’t be anodized as when rust flakes off, the anodized layer flakes off along with it.

Galvanizing
This is the name for the process in which a layer of zinc is applied to ferrous metal in order to prevent corrosion. Most commonly, this is when a piece of steel is dipped into molten zinc. The zinc forms a very strong layer of zinc oxide when it’s exposed to air, protecting the steel. It’s important to note that when galvanized metal is welded, any exposed steel along with the weld has to be coated with zinc paint.

Electroplating
This is the process by which electric current is used to adhere a solution to a metal. Typically this solution is comprised of cadmium and chromium. This plating then resists corrosion and improves the appearance of the piece.

Powder Coatings
Powder coating is the process by which dry powder is applied to a metal part electrostatically. The part is then cured, which causes the powder to flow and create a coating. These coatings are quite durable and often provide impact resistance and/or durability in the elements.

Porcelain Enamel Coatings
Enamel coating, most often seen in cast iron cookware, provide a smooth coating that is stain and scratch resistant. It also protects the piece against corrosion.

Metal coatings serve many purposes, as you can see from the examples above, and should only be applied by skilled specialists. If you’re not sure of the best coating for your purposes, the coating specialist you choose will be able to direct you to the perfect solution.

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