Cadmium Plating (Electroplating)

Cadmium plating, also known as cadmium electroplating, is a type of metallic coating that has distinct and useful properties. Cadmium plating is typically used in the aerospace industry and other environments exposed to high salt concentrations, and is usually paired with substrate materials such as steel, copper, various types of iron, and powdered metals.

New Method Plating is a family owned business with nearly 80 years of experience in providing high quality plating services. As an industry leader, we offer the highest level of expertise and maintain all critical industry standard certifications, including:

Cadmium Plating infographic
  • ISO 9001:2008
  • AS9100
  • Nadcap AS7108
  • Mil-Specs:
    • AMS QQ-P-416
    • AMS 2400
    • ASTM B766
    • MIL-STD-171
    • ASTM F1914
    • ISO 4042
    • ASTM B850

Benefits of Cadmium Plating

Cadmium is a highly desirable material due to its range of beneficial properties. Cadmium plating is what’s known as a sacrificial coating, meaning it corrodes and breaks down before the underlying material, adding a layer of protection to the metal below.

Cadmium has a number of properties that set it apart as a coating material. Those properties include:

  • High resistance to salt water corrosion
  • Provides adhesives with an exceptional bonding surface
  • Serves as a great conductor of electricity
  • Has a high level of solderability
  • Comes with built-in lubricity that prevents galling and provides a low friction surface
  • Naturally resistant to mold and bacteria
  • Can easily coat dissimilar materials, complex shapes, and hard-to-reach contours
  • Can be applied in an ultra-thin, lightweight layer

Industries and Applications

Cadmium electroplating is used in applications across a variety of industries, including:

  • Military and Aerospace. Cadmium electroplating has anti-corrosive qualities combined with its natural lubricity make it ideal for essential in-flight. Its adhesive properties make it especially useful in bonding materials to the aluminum frames of aircrafts.
  • Transportation. Cadmium plating is often found in disc brakes and hoses in high performance consumer vehicles, tractor trailers, and other forms of transportation due to its resistance to corrosion.
  • Marine. Cadmium plating offers protection against salt water corrosion, making it highly valuable in marine applications.
  • Consumer Electronics. The conductivity of cadmium electroplating makes it ideal for use in connectors and relays in electronics. It is also used to make batteries for cell phones and laptops.
  • Construction and Manufacturing. Many typical components used in industrial construction are coated with cadmium, such as hardware and industrial fasteners. It can also be found in prefabricated products used in a variety of manufacturing settings.

cadmium plating a screw

Types of Cadmium Plating

Plating type refers to cadmium coating’s post treatment colorization. There are three different types and classification levels of cadmium plating, including:

  • Type I. Also called “as plated,” this type of plating serves as cadmium electroplating’s default color scheme, meaning no additional color treatment is applied.
  • Type II. This type of cadmium plated is iridescent yellow colored. The quality of type II treatment is tested by using a salt spray on the exterior of the plated component, then checking for signs of corrosion after a 96-hour waiting period.
  • Type III. This type of cadmium plating has a phosphate supplementary colorization and is usually employed as a paint base.

Cadmium plating classifications are divided into 1, 2, and 3, based on the thickness of the coating. For example, class 1 is a coating of 0.0005 in., class 2 is 0.0003 in., and class 3 is rated at 0.0002 in.

Cadmium Plating Expertise

New Method Plating has years of experience offering high quality cadmium plating services with fast turnaround times, making us an ideal partner for your electroplating needs. For help with your next custom plating project, please contact us or request a quote today.