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Metallizing is the general name for the technique of coating metal on the surface of non-metallic objects. Because a non-metallic object tends to be a poor electrical conductor, the object's surface must be made conductive before plating can be performed.
Additional recommended knowledge
Techniques for metallization started as early as mirror making. In 1835, Justus von Liebig discovered the process of coating a glass surface with metallic silver, making the glass mirror one of the earliest items being metallized. Plating other non-metallic objects grew rapidly with introduction of ABS plastic. The plastic part is first etched chemically by a suitable process, such as dipping in a hot chromic acid-sulfuric acid mixture. The etched surface is sensitised and activated by first dipping in tin(II) chloride solution, then palladium chloride solution. The processed surface is then coated with electroless copper or nickel before further plating. This process gives useful (about 1 to 6 kgf/cm or 10 to 60 N/cm or 5 to 35 lbf/in) adhesion force, but is much weaker than actual metal-to-metal adhesion strength.
Vacuum metallizing involves heating the coating metal to its boiling point in a vacuum chamber, then letting condensation deposit the metal on the substrate's surface. Resistance heating, electron beam, or plasma heating is used to vaporize the coating metal.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Metallizing". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|