While glass, used often in biotechnology, is an exotic material that can be fragile and harder to work with than many other substances, it also offers certain advantages like thermal resistance. Likewise, ceramics have the composition to withstand high temperatures, and the right metal or alloy plating from materials like copper, aluminum, tin, gold, silver, nickel or zinc gives them additional desirable properties. The combination of glass and proper plating will result in properties and characteristics like:
- Strength, durability and longevity
- Chemical and corrosion resistance
- Higher chemical functionality
- Electrical conductivity
- Surface charge or other surface forces
- Altered composition
- Better contact angle and wettability
- Specific desired surface qualities like roughness or porosity
- Greater cleanliness
Once you know you need glass plating for a biotechnology application, the next step is finding a company that can complete the process without damaging your work material. In biotechnology applications, glass substrates provide important features like chemical inertness, low fluorescence background, flatness, smoothness, low cost and optical performance. With important uses like cell and DNA testing for certain cancers and more, those characteristics must remain intact. Look no further than SPC. We have the expertise to plate your glass accurately and affordably.
Plating Methods for Glass and Ceramics
Electroless plating and electroplating glass for biotechnology have different completion processes to achieve the same results. Electroless plating requires an autocatalytic chemical reaction for the adherence of metal in a thin layer to the glass or ceramic substrate. On the contrary, an electric current completes the process in electroplating — the components are immersed in electrolytes made of ions and metal salts, which allows for a proper electricity flow and eventual adhesion.
Electroplating Glass for Biotechnology
Some of the most commonly employed metals used in glass plating for biotechnology are copper and silver due to both physical and mechanical properties. While electroplating glass is often a challenging process due to the preparation that must take place before the plating process, we know exactly how to finish the job right at SPC without damaging the underlying glass material.
We start by preparing the substrate with conductive treatments on specific component regions where electroplating needs to take place. Metal powders like graphite and others help with this initial treatment. The component is then dropped into its electrolyte bath.
We use a direct, external electric current that travels from the anode, or positively charged electrode, which is where the plating metal is placed. The current goes through the electrolyte solution and into the negative electrode called a cathode, which is where the component surface is. The pretreatment allows a conductive nature in the electrolyte solution. The metal atoms are oxidized and dissolved into the bath, which allows them to be deposited, or plated, onto the glass.
Changing the voltage in the final steps determines how long the electroplating process will take. It also influences the final characteristics in the finished product.
Electroplating Ceramics for Biotechnology
Electroplating on a ceramic surface is not an easy process when adding a metal finish, and it often starts with electroless nickel coating so the metal finish can properly adhere to the substrate. After a thin metallic coating has adhered to the surface of the ceramic, the electrolyte tank process can be used to finish any metal plating, just like with other base materials.
The plus side is that almost any metal can be used when it comes to plating a ceramic substrate, which makes electroplating a useful option. Ceramic starts fragile, but it often becomes durable after the plating process is complete. Whether you choose a precious metal like silver or gold or another type of metal, your choice will determine additional new properties like corrosion reduction and wear resistance.
The Process of Electroless Plating
Electroless ceramic and glass plating for biotechnology is frequently used to plate small parts or those of different sizes, but not as often for plating in other circumstances. It offers the benefit of lower overall cost due to the elimination of power and electrolyte solutions. Different solutions made of chemicals and reducing agents are used for this method of deposition depending on the metal involved. For example, copper plating with this method involves formaldehyde, while nickel plating commonly requires sodium hypophosphite.
Electroless plating doesn’t mean a limited availability of metal plating options in comparison with electroplating. In fact, almost any metal can coat the final product. Nickel and nickel alloys are the most common, especially for a bottom layer with a catalyst. At SPC, we can add to the surface of the ceramic component to meet your specific needs and unique biotechnology application even if nickel is not your desired plating material.
Choose Sharretts Plating Company for an Innovative Solution
When you need plating on glass for biotechnology, deciding on the right company can change everything. Choosing SPC is the right move for anyone in the biotechnology business. We’ve been providing a variety of customized electroplating and other metal finishing services since 1925, so we have the experience to offer products with higher quality that help you lower operating costs and improve your overall performance.
When you partner with SPC, you can rest assured you’re making a responsible decision, not only for your company, but also for the environment. We work constantly to find new ways of preserving and protecting the environment while we develop our metal finishing processes. We’ve come up with the perfect balance between green functionality and efficient operations. As a result, we’re one of the leading metal plating companies in operation today when it comes to both production and eco-friendliness.
If you think you might need our services but aren’t sure whether it’s the right move, you can start by finding out exactly how much your plating will cost without any obligations or requirements from us. No matter what process you need or which plating you want — from copper and nickel to silver and gold or something else — we can make it happen. When you reach out, one of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives will respond to you within a single business day. Why wait? Contact us now to request your free quote.