Plating on Magnesium

Electroplating and Chrome Plating Magnesium

Magnesium castings and thixomolded components can both be electroplated to improve the appearance and corrosion resistance. Magnesium metal is two thirds the weight of aluminum and can be formed using a thixomolding process which helps to produce thin walls and intricate geometry.

Common alloying elements for magnesium plating include aluminum, zinc, and manganese.

Magnesium and magnesium alloys are used in a wide variety of structural applications including:

  • Industrial
  • Materials-Handling
  • Commercial and Aerospace Equipment

The automotive applications include paddle shifters, clutch and brake pedal support brackets, steering column lock housings, and manual transmissions housings. In industrial machinery magnesium alloys are used for parts that operate at high speeds. There are a wide range of applications in the aerospace and electronics industries for heat sinks and connectors.

The process for plating on magnesium was developed by Dow Chemical Company in the early 1950’s to support the commercialization of magnesium. The process for plating on magnesium includes a zincate barrier, a copper strike, and a secondary electroless nickel strike prior to subsequent metallization.

Magnesium is a very reactive metal to the 2-strike method which is important to protect the base material from other metal plating steps. At Arlington Plating Company, we have successfully developed our own methods/cycles of chroming on magnesium for several years.

After the dual strike process, a range of magnesium electroplating steps can be used depending on the desired finish. Nickel chrome, black chrome, satin chrome, Tri-metal alloy, and more can be applied to add value and functionality to the magnesium.