Is it Possible to use an alternative to Cadmium Plating?


Cadmium is a ductile, supple, glossy metal with a silver-white colour. When used in the plating and manufacturing business it is used as a sacrificial coating, which proves to be soluble in acids, but not in alkalis. It has several uses in corrosive situations, when cadmium plating will provide protection to the base metals, even when corroded or scratched. While it is very similar to Zinc, it creates more complex compounds.

Applications of Cadmium Plating

The majority of cadmium procured is used in the production of Ni-Cd batteries, with the remainder mainly used for stabilisers for plastic, coatings, pigments and plating. With the ability to absorb neutrons, it is applied as a barrier to control nuclear fission. It is specifically used to electroplate steel where an application of 0.05mm thick film of cadmium provides total protection against the sea.

Cadmium is highly suitable for application in the Aerospace industry with particular use on landing gears and legs.

Alternatives to Cadmium Plating

In the Nuclear, Marine and Aerospace industries it has not been possible to completely phase out the use of cadmium deposits, however, less toxic, non-cyanide, plating systems have been developed. New zinc-alloy systems are being researched as a means to reduce cadmium plating without any compromise to performance.

Zinc Alloys – New zinc-alloy systems, such as zinc-nickel, zinc-cobalt, are able to provide a corrosion resistant, high performance alternative to plating with cadmium.

Tin-Zinc – an alternative, environmentally friendly process for plating. Using an almost pH neutral solution, the resulting deposit from this tin-zinc plating contains approximately 30% zinc with the remainder being tin.

For further information, and to discuss which alternative best suits your application, contact the Technical Team at Saras Process at