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Understanding the Various Metals Used for Plating

Are you considering plating metals? The process of metal plating is performed to improve corrosion resistance, add aesthetic appeal, enhance the metal’s hardness, reduce friction in moving pieces, increase or decrease conductivity and to improve solderability. The most common plating metals include brass, bronze, cadmium, nickel and tin, and here at Belmont Metals, we sell all of these types of plating metals.


Brass is a metal alloy that consists of copper and zinc. Though, it may contain other metals, including lead and tin. Brass is one of the most common metals used for plating due to its decorative and anti-corrosion properties. It’s also easily workable. Brass is often used to plate household items, like doorknobs, water fixtures and towel bars, but you can also find it used for plating various types of fasteners and fittings. In fact, it’s so corrosion resistant that it’s often used to prevent the corrosion of metal in marine environments. When brass plating is used for its decorative properties, it’s often pretreated with a lacquer to prevent the tarnishing of the brass. We sell brass for plating purposes as nuggets and flat-top anodes.


Like brass, bronze is a metal alloy that is primarily composed of copper and tin. Though, other metals, including zinc and nickel, can be added to the mix. Bronze can be used in electroplating, which means electricity is used to bond a very thin layer of brass to the base metal. Bronze plating can be used to increase the aesthetic value of an item, like a statue or piece of jewelry, or it can be used to reduce the wear and tear on the base metal by creating a sacrificial layer. When it comes to practical purposes, bronze is most often used to plate springs and pistons in order to reduce the friction of the moving parts.


Cadmium is a lesser-used plating metal. Although, at one point, it was used as a substitute for zinc plating. It’s most commonly used in the automotive and marine industries because it acts as a sacrificial layer that absorbs wear and tear, leaving the base metal unharmed. It also has lubricating properties and can be used to plate moving parts, like ball bearings. We sell cadmium pellets for vacuum deposition and cadmium anode.


Nickel is most commonly used for electroless plating, but it can also be used for electroplating. Nickel-plated surfaces are commonly found on household items, like doorknobs, water faucets, silverware and cutlery and showerheads. It’s used to increase the wear resistance of the surface and improve the appearance of the item. Metals that do well with nickel plating include aluminum and copper. Here at Belmont metals, we sell Grade N Nickel in pellets and Grade S Nickel in pellets and one-inch rounds.


Tin is most commonly used to plate steel, especially in the food packaging industry. Tin plating can often be found on cans used to store food and drinks. However, it’s also sometimes used in the manufacturing of certain electronic components. Tin is used for its anti-corrosion and non-toxic properties. We sell tin as 99.9 percent pure anodes.

Purchasing Plating Metals from Belmont Metals

If you need plating metals for your next project, do not hesitate to give us a call at 718-342-4900. We offer many different types of popular plating metals, and we can even do custom research and development work for custom metal alloys.