Phosphating: An Overview

October 21, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Metal parts and components are used in an assortment of industries. When ordering such parts one of the important considerations is if you need phosphating. What is phosphating? Understanding the answer to this can be essential, depending on your industry and specific needs.

Phosphating Explained

Phosphating is a chemical treatment applied to the surface of metal components and parts. This process results in the creation of a layer of metal phosphates on the surface of the treated metal. As it relates to phosphating in powder coating, the use of an adhering layer makes applying the powder coat easier and adds the added benefit of reducing corrosion.

The process involved applications of chemicals and electro-chemicals which results in the added surface layer. The resulting surface not only adds a level of protection it also adds other benefits. The phosphate layer can absorb wax, color pigments, oils, and lacquers. This surface is ideal for adding additional finishes such as colors, paints, varnishes, and powder coatings. These extra chemical features result in parts that are sturdier and last longer.

Metal Phosphates Characteristics and Traits

  • The layer is varying shades of gray and is chemically zinc or a zinc/calcium layer.
  • The layer is attached to the base metal and chemically bonded.
  • This additional layer does add a small degree of thickness ranging from 3 to 20 micrometers. This can affect the fitting of parts where measurements are precise and should be taken into consideration.
  • There is a crystalline appearance that can differ in appearance based on the details of the chemical treatment process. It can be fine or rougher for example.
  • The surface readily absorbs protective oils and lacquers allowing you to add additional protection to your finished parts.
  • The finished product is rust-resistant.
  • The finished metals are also non-conductive and have high levels of electrical insulation.

Application of This Chemical Process and Uses

Generally speaking, phosphating is used on steel or iron parts or pieces. However, other types of metals (such as zinc) can also have phosphating performed. This process is used in areas where extra protection is needed this can include reducing conductivity, reducing wear, protection against rust, and situations where adhesion is needed such as adding an extra coat on your metal. This process is also notable in that it can be used in place of a protective coating as it adds greater durability and insulation properties to treated metals.

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