Introduction

ZINC is anodic to iron and steel and therefore offers more protection when applied in thin films of 7 to 15 pm (0.3 to 0.5 mil) than similar thicknesses of nickel and other cathodic coatings, except in marine environments where it is surpassed by cadmium (which is somewhat less anodic than zinc to iron and steel). When compared to other metals it is relatively inexpensive and readily applied in barrel, tank, or continuous plating facilities. Zinc is often preferred for coating iron and steel parts when protection from either atmospheric or indoor corrosion is the primary objective. Electroplated zinc without subsequent treatment becomes dull gray in appearance after exposure to air. Bright zinc that has been subsequently given a chromate conversion coating or a coating of clear lacquer (or both) is sometimes used as a decorative finish. Such a finish, although less durable than heavy nickel chromium, in many instances offers better corrosion protection than thin coatings of nickel chromium, and at much lower cost.

Much recent attention has been focused on the development of techniques for electroplating alloys such as zinc-iron, zinc-nickel, and zinc-cobalt. The operating parameters and applications of these coatings is very similar to those for unalloyed zinc. More detailed information about these techniques is provided in the article "Zinc Alloy Plating" in this Volume.

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