Plating Onto PPA

Polyphthalamide (PPA) is a polyamide plastic used in a wide variety of applications across several industries. From automotive connectors to electronic cable protection, PPA is used for its strength, stiffness, thermal capacity and resistance to moisture and chemical fatigue. PPA is also a common substrate for metallic plating.

If you use PPA plastic in industrial applications and want to plate these parts to improve their functionality, SPC can help! We offer comprehensive plating onto plastic services, including PPA plating services, so you can plate the parts you need to achieve the results you want.

Properties of PPA Plastic

PPA is a strong plastic with several physical attributes that are useful in several applications. These attributes include:

  • Physical strength and durability
  • Thermal stability
  • Electrical insulation
  • Resistance to moisture
  • Resistance to chemicals

With excellent physical, thermal and electrical properties, PPA is commonly used in a wide variety of industries, including the automotive, electronics, petrochemical and medical industries. A few examples of how PPA is used include the following:

  • Automotive fuel lines, coolant lines, valves, air coolers and coolant pumps
  • Electronic USB connectors, LED mounts and wire protection sheathes
  • Petrochemical pipes and supply lines
  • Sports equipment
  • Home appliance valves

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Reasons to Plate PPA Plastic

Plating onto plastic provides numerous benefits in addition to the features presented by the base material. Plating onto PPA is no exception — many industries decide to plate onto PPA to achieve one or more of the following properties afforded by metallic plating:

  • Thermal resistance
  • Chemical resistance
  • Corrosion and wear resistance
  • Reduced moisture absorption
  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Physical stability and strength

Of course, the combination of physical and chemical properties gained through the plating process will vary widely based on the metal used to plate the part.

How Plating Onto PPA Works

Plating on PPA requires several preparatory steps since it is not metallic in nature and won't support the electroplating process. To deposit the metallic layer, then, the PPA must be "metalized" to increase the adhesive properties of the plastic, then it can undergo electroless plating. While the process to achieve this result varies based on the material and application, this plating process includes:

  • Cleaning the part of imperfections
  • Etching the surface to support bonding of the metal with the plastic's surface
  • Conditioning and neutralizing the surface of the part to prepare for bonding
  • Activating the surface to catalyze the bond between the part and the metallic layer

If done correctly, this process will result in a successful metal deposit. Once this metallic layer is firmly in place, the part can undergo traditional electroplating for subsequent metal layers.

Metal Plating Options for PPA Plastics

Once the plastic metallization process is complete, several types of metals can be plated onto PPA plastic parts, with various options offering different sets of benefits. SPC offers several plating options for PPA plastic, so you can choose the finish that best fits your needs. Here are a few of the options available from SPC:

  • Copper: Known for its excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, copper is a popular plating material for plastics. Not only that, but it is relatively inexpensive, providing numerous benefits at a lower cost than with precious metals like gold or silver.

  • Gold: Besides the aesthetic appearance of the component, gold also improves the functionality of the plastic part it is plated on. Gold offers a great deal of corrosion resistance, electrical conductivity and heat shielding, which all allow PPA plastic parts greater functionality in a wider range of applications and environmental conditions.

  • Nickel: Aesthetically and functionally useful, nickel is a bright metal that provides excellent wear and corrosion resistance to plastics when used as a plating material. Nickel alloys are also useful in this purpose, using tungsten and tin to increase the part's resistance to warping, wear and corrosion.

Silver is also a common plating option for plastic parts. If you have questions about other plating options, contact SPC to speak with a consultant about the options available to you.

Why Choose SPC for Plating on Your PPA Plastics?

If you're looking for a trusted plating service to handle your PPA parts, you can turn to SPC. While many plating companies draw the line at plating on plastics, SPC regularly plates plastic products as a critical part of our regular services. We plate PPA and other plastic projects using customized electroless plating and electroplating processes, developing the best system for your unique project. With our extensive experience in the field, we can help you complete your project to the high-quality standards you deserve.

Not only does SPC seek quality, but we also seek your satisfaction with our work. Our family-owned company has been around since 1925, maintaining our dedication to customer service, high-quality standards and modern plating procedures from day one. You can trust us to bring your project to fruition, achieving the results you deserve.

Interested in learning more about plating onto plastics and how SPC can help your business achieve more?

Contact us today to speak with a representative and request your free quote.

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"I would like to thank you for the help you have provided us in developing an electroless nickel plating technique on an unusual substrate. The sample platings you provided show that we should be able to reach our goals. I especially appreciate your willingness to take on an unusual job, with the uncertainties that that entails...We are looking forward to working with you in the future on our plating needs."

– Robert K.