Titanium Plating in the Aerospace Industry

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Titanium plating is also a common metal plating application. Electroless nickel is used to coat titanium as an initial coating. When it comes down to it, these processing steps are conductive for effectively achieving a good bond to the titanium. Let's take a look at more of this information regarding titanium plating. At Sesco Industries, we pride ourselves on being a trusted nationwide commercial aerospace parts supplier. So please do not hesitate to reach out to us today to learn more about our aerospace services and parts. The number for our office is 718-939-1900. When you call, we can further discuss the various parts available. Learn more about aerospace parts and our role in the industry.

Uses for Plating Onto Titanium

In the aerospace industry, titanium is a common material you will find. It is light weight and helps increase speeds. You can alloy it with aluminum and other common metals when manufacturing an aircraft, missile or spacecraft. Some common applications include using titanium in the production of key components, such as landing gear, aircraft engines, and hydraulic systems. On top of that, titanium offers protection against corrosive effects of seawater, so it benefits application regarding objects that go in the ocean.

When it comes to use in the aerospace industry, you can find titanium in many different types of aircraft. Due to its light weight, it enhances the aerodynamics of an aircraft and provides increased fuel efficiency. Some other beneficial properties includes excellent fatigue, crack and corrosion resistance, and the ability to withstand high temperatures. On top of using it for airplanes and aircraft, you will also find titanium in missiles and spacecraft. And you can use various metals to plate on titanium, including gold, nickel and copper. Each has their own features.

The Need for Plating onto Titanium

Plating onto titanium really enhances the existing properties of the metal, which includes the following:

  • very abundant metal
  • it is as strong as many forms of steel, but not as dense when in its unalloyed state
  • extremely resistant to corrosion
  • biocompatible and non-toxic to the human body
  • it is of light weight, thus aerodynamic
  • capable of withstanding corrosive forces of salt

Coating onto titanium can produce the following results:

  • enhance its ability to resist surface fatigue
  • improve fretting
  • improves anti-galling properties
  • increases or decreases electrical conductivity
  • improves corrosion resistance for hot acidic environments
  • reflects heat
  • adds lubricity and solderability

Titanium Plating General Surface Preparation Tips

When it comes to titanium plating, proper preparation is required and is essential to the process as a whole. There are a few different methods that can be applied in the surface preparation process. Let's take a look at some of the general surface prep tips when it comes to plating with titanium.

  • There are the conventional cleaning methods, such as grinding, blasting, alkaline cleaning and vapor degreasing. Each of these cleaning techniques is an effective way to prep to plate with titanium.
  • Activation by liquid abrasive blasting.
  • Activation with electrochemical etching, but without the implementation of any heat treatment.

All three of those processes can be an effective way to prepare for titanium and titanium alloys. These tips also comply with the standards set forth bu the American Society for Testing and Materials with regard to promoting adhesion when plating various metals onto titanium.

The Need for Titanium Electroplating

On its own, titanium showcases great elements that make it perfect for many manufacturing and aerospace uses. However, there are times when plating on titanium and titanium alloy is a smart decision. In general, when you plate on titanium, it helps to enhance the properties that already exist with the metal. So it makes it even more beneficial to many manufacturing and metal finishing processes.

Some common reasons to implement a titanium electroplating process includes enhancing the metal's ability to resist surface fatigue and fretting and anti-galling properties. You can also plate on titanium to improve the resistance to corrosion for extremely hot and acidic environments, to increase or decrease any electrical conductivity, reflect hear, add potential lubricity, and repair and resize certain applications.

Issues When Plating on Titanium

So, as with anything, there are some pitfalls when plating on titanium. Over the years, it has been considered one of the more difficult processes to master when it comes to metal plating. When it comes down to it, titanium is a reactive metal, which is the biggest issue for this process. It reacts with oxygen in a way that can obstruct the process and forms a passive film on the underlying material. When this happens, the film can prevent a good bond with the application of a metal coating. Thus, the entire process can become negated.

For this electroplating to work, the process must have great adhesion between the metal coating and the incoming substrate. The method must also remove any native oxide and keep it away during this process. So it is important to turn to someone you can trust to deliver you titanium plating aerospace parts that are of the highest quality.