Gold is a mainstay in the electronics industry. It is used for electroplating relays, connectors, and contacts for switches. Gold is a popular choice for plating electronics components for several reasons.
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- Gold is ductile. This means that it can be drawn out into the thinnest wires.
- Gold conducts electricity well. As metals go, gold is one of the most efficient conductors of electrical current.
- Gold is corrosion-resistant. Gold will not rust due to elements like moisture, chlorine, or sulfur gases.
- Gold is heat-resistant. The friction of electronic components produces heat, but gold will not become compromised at these elevated temperatures.
But even though gold boasts a number of properties that make it ideal for electronics components, in order for it to be effective, it must be applied according to some basic guidelines. Here’s a look at some of those guidelines, as developed by AMP Incorporated, the world leader in electrical and electronic connection devices and interconnection systems.
- Maintain appropriate plating thickness. To keep costs low, companies want to add as little gold plating as possible, but they shouldn’t skimp so much that they compromise quality. As a general rule for connectors, a coating of .80 microns of hard gold is appropriate to coat a minimum of 1.3 microns of nickel. You can reduce that to a .03-.1 micron coating but only in cases where the risk of fretting is minimal. Gold can withstand heavy heat and corrosion but only when it is plated with sufficient thickness.
- Ensure a quality under-layer. Gold is a workhorse, but you can’t expect it to function at full capacity if it is applied over a low-quality metal. Nickel is an excellent choice for a metal under-layer that pairs well with gold. Nickel prevents poor corrosion in areas where the gold coating is thin and helps increase gold’s durability.
- Shield separable connectors. For connector applications that need added reliability, gold plating is especially important. Make sure to coat these separable contact interfaces with gold to protect them from destructive influences in the environment. Gold-plated components keep the electronics industry running. When applied according to industry standards, gold is an invaluable metal that sustains the products that make our lives better and easier on a daily basis.
For more information about gold plating kits and electroplating supplies, contact Gold Plating Services.