Steel fastener plating is a process used primarily for corrosion resistance and aesthetics. However, steel fastener plating can have a negative effect on a steel fastener if done incorrectly.
For example, hydrogen embrittlement is a phenomenon that can be triggered by the steel fastener plating process, which can drastically reduce fatigue life and static strength. During the steel fastener plating process, and earlier cleaning and descaling processes, hydrogen is evolved at the surface of the components and, particularly in the case of steels, is absorbed by the surface of the metal. Higher strength steels are particularly sensitive to hydrogen embrittlement during steel fastener plating.
In order to reduce the risks of steel fastener plating, mechanical cleaning and descaling processes are recommended — acid cleaning is said to present a greater risk of damage than alkali processes. In an acid, iron reacts to form a salt, with the result that hydrogen (H+) ions thus liberated combine with electrons to form hydrogen gas. Any electrochemical cleaning processes used should be carefully selected by the plater – for example, the cathodic process liberates hydrogen, whereas anodic processes do not.
At Electronic Fasteners, we have the experience and expertise to recommend the right steel fastener plating for your product and its service environment. Zinc, chrome, and nickel are all examples of popular steel fastener plating materials, depending on the fastener use, aesthetics, and budget. We’re able to meet most OEM, ASTM, and private specs for all our processes. We’re also experienced in providing steel fastener plating to meet strict mil-spec standards.
To learn more about steel fastener plating, or to get a quote, contact our steel fastener plating experts today.