Ruthenium Plating Services

Electroplating with precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum will enhance the appearance of the underlying metal substrate while also providing additional benefits, such as improving corrosion and wear resistance and increasing surface ductility and electrical conductivity. A lesser known but extremely useful precious metal for electroplating is ruthenium.

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Ruthenium Plating Services | Electroplating And the Ruthenium Plating Process

Benefits and Advantaghes of Electroplating With Ruthenium | Ruthenium Plating Services with SPC

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Ruthenium Basics

Ruthenium, also known as chemical element symbol Ru, is an extremely rare transition metal that exhibits a lustrous, silvery-white metallic appearance. In its metallic state, ruthenium is a hard, brittle material. Originally discovered in 1844 by a Russian chemist named Karl Karlovich Klaus, ruthenium is derived from ores most commonly found in the Ural Mountains in western Russia, as well as in parts of North and South America. Despite its relative rarity, the price of ruthenium is usually much lower than that of other comparable metals.

Ruthenium is a member of the platinum group of metals, which also includes platinum, rhodium, palladium, osmium and iridium. As with all platinum-group metals, ruthenium is chemically inert, which means it will not react with chemicals in the atmosphere or those that may be introduced during various manufacturing processes.

Hot or cold acids or aqua regia, a combination of nitric and hydrochloric acid, will also have no effect on ruthenium. However, the introduction of potassium chlorate to a solution containing ruthenium can cause extensive oxidation. Ruthenium also will not tarnish at room temperature.

Ruthenium Uses and Applications

The use of ruthenium continues to increase, particularly in the electronics and chemical industries. Specific ruthenium applications include:

  • Electrical contacts: Ruthenium is often alloyed with palladium or platinum to harden these materials for use in the manufacturing of wear-resistance electrical contacts. This enables the application of a much thinner coating than possible when using these metals alone. Electroplating is the primary application method in this case.
  • Data storage: Another electronics-related ruthenium application is the manufacturing of various data storage products, including microchips, read elements for hard disc drives and semiconductors.
  • Catalyst: Ruthenium is a versatile catalyst frequently used to assist in the splitting of hydrogen sulfide compounds. As such, ruthenium is extremely valuable for removing hydrogen sulfide during industrial processes such as oil refining, as well as various chemical processes including Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and olefin metathesis.
  • Solar energy technologies: Certain ruthenium compounds can absorb light across the visible spectrum. This makes ruthenium well-suited for use in various solar energy technologies such as light absorption in dye-sensitized solar cells and the development of more cost-effective solar cell systems.

Electroplating And the Ruthenium Plating Process

Understanding the electroplating process, also called electrodeposition, might help you decide whether our ruthenium plating services are a good option for your company. The process results in the depositing of a thin metal layer, in this case ruthenium, onto any workpiece surface, or substrate. The desired reaction is reached through the use of an electrical current.

First, the ruthenium is connected to a positively charged electrode, or anode, on an electrical circuit. The substrate is on a negatively charged electrode called a cathode. They're both immersed in an electrolytic solution, or bath, and a current is supplied to the anode. The metal atoms in the ruthenium are oxidized and dissolved into the bath. After the dissolved ruthenium ions are reduced at the cathode, they're deposited onto the substrate. In other words, plating is complete.

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Benefits and Advantaghes of Electroplating With Ruthenium

People in countless industries choose to add ruthenium coatings to various substrates for different benefits, which vary from durability and aesthetic appearance to chemical resistance and more. No matter which new characteristics you need for your unique company and application, we can take care of it at SPC.

We don't just focus on completing the process — we make sure to achieve the safest, most reliable methods and final products with quality you'll recognize immediately. We even achieved ISO certification in 1994, which shows our commitment to minimize waste and reduce errors, among other goals.

Applying a ruthenium coating to another metal part or component via electroplating will harden the underlying substrate and increase its resistance to scratches and abrasions. A ruthenium coating provides a stable, long-lasting finish that is impervious to damage from atmospheric chemicals.

As with other precious metals, ruthenium plating is also used to enhance the appearance of the part. The relatively low price of ruthenium plating makes it a more acceptable alternative to companies that want the benefits of precious metal coating at a more affordable cost.

One of the most popular ruthenium plating applications is to increase aesthetic appeal. While ruthenium in its natural state exhibits a shiny gray-white color, it is possible to create a darker gray or rich black coating by modifying the plating bath. Some metal finishing companies offer industrial ruthenium plating services featuring a specially developed black plating solution that serves as a more decorative alternative to black nickel. The typical ruthenium coating thickness ranges from 0.25 to 1.0 microns.

In addition to decorative applications, ruthenium plating is used for increased corrosion protection and wear resistance for metal products that are exposed to high temperatures. It can also be used to apply a protective coating on electrical contacts.

Key Factors for Ensuring a Successful Ruthenium Plating Outcome

Ruthenium plating is a challenging process that requires close consideration of various factors. In addition to selecting the right plating bath composition, it is vital to maintain the appropriate current density throughout the process. Other key factors include ensuring the bath temperature remains in an acceptable range and the proper pH balance is maintained.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Plating Company

There are few companies that currently offer reliable, cost-effective ruthenium finishing services. A reputable metal finishing company will take a consultative approach to the selection and implementation of the best ruthenium plating method for your applications and budget. You should also choose a company with a proven track record of attaining successful ruthenium electroplating results for its customers. Once you consider all you'll need from your ruthenium plating services and the benefits you can gain from the right process, the choice becomes clear: SPC.

We provide numerous benefits and come to the process with a concentration on quality and optimal customer satisfaction. We have the experience to make sure we achieve the ruthenium coating properties best for you. Since 1925, we've provided cost-effective, high-quality assistance to customers around the world, helping them increase their overall productivity and gain greater success against their competition. Our loyal customer base and rich history of efficient solution delivery speak for us as a company that strives for perfection.

Though completing the process efficiently to keep your business at its best is one focus of ours, we also care about protecting and preserving the environment during the use of any plating methods, including our ruthenium plating process. We adhere to environmentally friendly standards for industrial and commercial plating, and we've developed processes that achieve the balance between productivity and green operations. This means we comply with the strictest government regulations, but it also helps you know you're being responsible by choosing SPC.

If you're considering ruthenium plating services but aren't entirely sure yet whether they fit in your budget or business plans, feel free to reach out to us for additional information. Not only will our knowledgeable professionals help guide you in finding the right plating at an appropriate cost, but we'll also provide a free quote so you know what to expect — no strings attached! When you submit a quote request, our staff will respond within one business day. Contact Sharretts Plating Company to learn more about the benefits of electroplating with ruthenium.

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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.