Gold plating has long found favor with past cultures. In addition to coins, gold served as the basis for decorative items. For centuries, gold was employed to provide plate ware, cutlery and all types of jewelry. In later times, gold plating replaced solid gold, allowing more to afford the lustrous sheen of a variety of golden items.
Today, gold is no longer common as coinage. It is also not merely a pretty façade. Gold has been embraced by several industries. These manufacturers have come to perceive the beneficial aspects of using gold plating on their items and components. One of the more significant manufacturing concerns that utilizes gold plating in their products is the electronics industry.
Types of Gold Plating Employed
The electronics industry turns to gold plating for a number of reasons. To accomplish this, they may request one of the two basic types. These are:
* Bright, Hard Gold Plating: Ranging between 120 and 300 on the Knoop hardness scale, this type of plating is frequently applied in the manufacturing of contacts and circuit board tabs.
* Soft, Pure Gold Plating: Ranging between 60 and 85 on the Knoop hardness scale, this type of plating is applied with printed circuit boards as well as semiconductors
In both instances, the gold plating is performed over a substrate of copper. Yet, the chemical and physical properties of combining the two may result in an undesirable oxide or sulphide layer, it is essential to provide a barrier or intermediate layer between the gold and the copper. The metal that is frequently chosen to fulfill this role is nickel.
Gold Plating: A Preferred Choice
The electronic industry has several reasons for selecting a gold plating for their products. While a pure gold item would deliver the same results, it would not be a cost-effective way to deliver the desired effects. A gold overlay, however, will imbue the substrate metal with the desired qualities. Among the properties sought out for things such as circuit boards and semiconductors are the following:
* Uniform conductivity for electricity
* Non-reactivity with other metals
These characteristics are necessary if the company is to produce quality electronic components of a specific type. The gold overlay ensures that the overall cost will be cost-effective.
Gold Plating: Practical and Cost-Effective
Electroplating is a common method employed by industries to achieve the results a company wants and needs from a specific component. It is a cost-effective means of endowing one less expensive but not as efficient or effective metal with the highly desirable qualities of another. When it comes to certain electronic components, while gold provides the necessary qualities, the cost would be prohibitive. Fortunately, companies have discovered the best way to overcome this problem. The answer for them is gold plating.
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