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Understanding Zinc Plating and Its Effects on Nuts, Bolts, and Fasteners

July 31, 2020

Steel is widely used in fabricating nuts, bolts, and fasteners. This specific material has adequate tensile and shear strength that makes them suitable for the mentioned hardware devices and components. One downside of this material, however, is its weak resistance against corrosion. Once the steel is exposed to oxygen and moisture, the formation of rust begins, which will consequently diminish the overall strength and longevity of the said material.

Possible Unconventional Solutions

While there are attempts at using other metal material for nuts, bolts, and fasteners, the steel material still comes out as the top component for fabricating these hardware devices. Other metal materials like titanium, copper, and stainless steel may have greater corrosion resistance, but they do not possess the same workability that steel uniquely possesses.

Electroplating, which is a process of adding a thin metal layer to a product with a different base metal, is a great solution to mitigate the effects of corrosion. One go-to plating metal that is used by a lot of steel products before is cadmium. It has excellent corrosion resistance, good lubricity, outstanding finish, and wonderful appearance. The only problem with cadmium is the toxicity of its compounds. When used for a long time, components with this material may cause cancer and other body system problems.

Zinc Plating as the Workaround

Fortunately, one great workaround that will prevent steel products from corroding easily and losing their core properties is through the application of zinc plating. Zinc plating, which is done by electroplating, is the process of adding a thin coating of zinc to base material for improvement purposes. Many industries utilise zinc plating in coating materials that are intended for outdoor and industrial applications.

Zinc can work on any surfaces and metal types. It has good lubricity and impressive heat resistance, which is perfect for high-temperature applications. Zinc can also provide surface hardness to the base metal material. Being sustainable is also a quality of zinc as it can be recycled again for other purposes.

Just like any other materials, zinc may also have some drawbacks. Zinc plating alone might not be enough to resist corrosion, especially when the materials are used in wet or high humid environments. Acids and alkalis can also damage zinc. Hydrogen embrittlement, which can cause cracks and reduce ductility, likewise poses a problem to zinc-plated high-strength steel products.

Coating Fasteners with Zinc Material

The coating of zinc material to nuts, bolts, and fasteners can be done by either electroplating or hot-dip galvanisation. Electroplating can already help these hardware devices in attaining their needed protection against corrosion without spending too much money. It can also create a thinner, more uniform layer of zinc, which is not possible for other plating procedures. Electroplating will also less likely distort the fine tolerances of fasteners and can easily provide an attractive appearance and finish.

Hot-dip galvanisation, on the other hand, offers better corrosion resistance than electroplating. The zinc surface out of this process can also selfheal any scratches and abrasions. A chromate conversion coating is subsequently needed if the fasteners must achieve greater corrosion or abrasion resistance.

Zinc plating can significantly boost the qualities and corrosion resistance of nuts, bolts, and fasteners. To have your own zinc-plated fasteners, just give us a call at Ebolts Online Store.

As you can see, fasteners come in many different shapes and sizes. If you are ready to improve your next project, give Ebolts Online Store a call!

Get in touch

TCI Fasteners - Topcope
13 Slater Parade, Keilor East VIC 3033 Australia

Telephone: (03) 9336 0155

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