Are you familiar with vacuum metalizing? Whether you are or not, it tremendously affects our daily lives. We’ve put together a handy guide on the big ideas you should know about vacuum metalizing, including what it is, its benefits, and its applications.
What Is Vacuum Metalizing?
Whether you know it or not, you’ve undoubtedly come across products created with vacuum metalizing in the past. Vacuum metalizing forms a metallic layer, or coating, on metalized parts.
Vacuum metalizing is a form of physical vapor deposition that coats a metal onto a substrate via evaporation. Here’s how it works: essentially, a metal wire is fed into a heating source within a closed vacuum chamber that lowers the boiling point of the metal parts.
The chamber heats the liquid metal to a gaseous phase, and the metal vapor then adheres to the surface of the substrate, creating an even and smooth metallic coating.
Benefits of Vacuum Metalizing
Vacuum metalizing isn’t the only form of physical vapor deposition, but it’s one of the most common—so what are its benefits?
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The strongest reason vacuum metalizing is so frequent is that it’s an affordable and effective process. The vacuum metalizing process is very straightforward and streamlined, allowing it to be done in a short time and with minimal effort, meaning lower labor and other costs.
It also helps that vacuum metalizing is environmentally friendly and safe for whoever is applying the process. Compared to other chemical-based coating options, like electroless plating, vacuum metalizing doesn’t produce harmful chemical fumes thanks to the vacuum chamber.
Fewer fumes and vapors make vacuum metalizing a safer process for the workers conducting the process and the overall environment.
Applications for Vacuum Metalizing
Vacuum metalizing has a long history and many uses. As we said, whether or not you’ve heard of it before, you’ve almost definitely come across the technology.
Since vacuum metalizing has a unique, attractive, reflective appearance, it’s often used for decorative purposes. Vacuum metalizing is commonly used for decorative gold and silver wire in textile and other materials.
Other items that use vacuum metalizing include:
- Household appliances
Insulation and Protective Barriers
But vacuum metalizing isn’t used only for its decorative qualities—it also has insulating and protective functions. The protective barrier that vacuum metalizing coating creates is used on advanced machines like spacecraft to shield delicate circuits and electronics from electromagnetic waves and interference.
Even the smartphone you could be reading this on right now is using vacuum metalizing. Smartphones utilize EMI shielding, which protects the circuits and systems of a smartphone from the electromagnetic interference caused by other electronics and smartphones. Next time you make a crystal-clear call, thank vacuum metalizing!
Now, you should know more about vacuum metalizing and understand how this technology affects our daily lives—even if you’ve never noticed it before!