A Guide to Bright Acid Tin Plating

Bright acid tin plating is used to add solderability, corrosion protection and electrical conductivity to substrates for use in the food, mechanical, electrical and decorative industries. Tin is a ductile, soft and silver metal that does not easily oxidise when exposed to air and is non-toxic. It was first used in 3000 BC when bronze weapons and products were made by alloying copper with tin.

There are two types of tin plating; bright acid tin plating and matte plating which both require the electroplating process for application. Choose bright tin electroplating for more decorative purposes and its high degree of lustre or matte tin for more solderable applications.

Bright Acid TinWhat can bright acid tin plating be applied to?

Bright acid tin plating can be deposited on almost any metal:

  • Ferrous alloys such as mild, stainless, hardened and tool steels
  • Cuprous alloys such as copper, copper alloys (tellurium & beryllium) phosphor bronze, brass, nickel silver and zinc die-casts
  • Aluminium
  • Inconel, cobalt-chrome and many more

To enhance solderability and durability for high temperature uses, especially brass components, copper or nickel plating is used as an under plate with tin electrodeposits. Other under plates include silver and lead.

What is the bright acid tin plating process?

Tin electroplating uses a tin plating solution of water, organic acid and stannous tin, including some organic constituents to regulate the layer of tin, a brightener and a starter. Tin plating is carried out in acid tin baths (sulfate and fluroborate tin baths).

Before the substrate is tin plated, it needs to be degreased and rinsed twice, tarnished and rinsed one more time. As per the electroplating process, the substrate is placed in an electrolyte and switched to the negative electrode to attract the layer of tin.

What is bright acid tin plating used for?

Bright acid tin plating is used for:

  • Food processing and kitchenware due to its heat resistance and nontoxic qualities e.g. steel parts and cast steel mills for mincing meat
  • Any heat sensitive applications such as firefighting tools
  • For decoration on jewellery and antique tin objects
  • On copper conductive components and copper alloys for increasing solderability
  • Aluminium for light switches and printed circuit boards
  • Many applications within the transmission, distribution, electronic, telecommunication, medical, marine and aerospace industries.

To find out more about the tin plating process or to enquire about our bright acid tin plating services in Dorset, please call Dorsetware on 01202 677939 or fill out our online contact form for a no obligation same day quote.

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