Metalizing is a process you’ve probably never thought about before that has provided you with various benefits you know nothing about. It’s hard to believe, but without metallization, most of the electronic devices that you enjoy simply wouldn’t exist—or at least, wouldn’t work as well. But what is metalizing, how does it work, and what purpose does it serve? Here’s a short take on all the reasons for and benefits of metalizing.
The Meaning and Process
Metalizing is pretty much what it sounds like: taking an object and coating it with metal for sundry purposes. Many materials can be metalized, including glass, ceramics, various plastics, and even other metals. Likewise, multiple metals can be used for the coating process, including zinc, aluminum, nickel, chrome, bronze, tungsten, and stainless steel. There’s no single metalizing process, but one of the more popular types is the electric arc spray. It relies on a process of creating an arc of electricity through which molten metal is blasted via an inert gas. The metal coats an object’s surface to fill space and form strong bonds before immediately cooling off. Other processes include vacuum metalizing, hot-dip galvanizing, cold spraying, and thermal spraying. A list of industries and institutions that use metalized objects would be too long for this space, but suffice to say that metalizing is used everywhere.
That’s the gist of the process, but why do it at all?
Metalizing Brings Beauty
For one thing, metalizing surfaces can bring the luster, shine, and loveliness of assorted metals to nonmetallic objects. Jewelers can use metalized plastic and ceramic beads and other decorative elements to create beautiful jewelry. Trophies are another beneficiary of the metalizing process, providing non-precious substances with the gleam and glory of gold, silver, and other lustrous metals. Metalizing can also make construction materials and utilitarian things, such as outdoor lamps, look a bit smoother and fancier. But that’s not all it does.
Metalizing Provides Protection
Corrosion is the enemy of every manmade device, especially those that are used outdoors. Metalizing is a great way to protect metals from rusting, as it coats them in non-rusting materials and keeps them intact for years to come, no matter the sunlight, weather, climate, or other local environmental factors they are exposed to. Metalizing also eliminates the need to paint and repaint outdoor surfaces since the coating doesn’t chip, peel, or flake away. The metal lends its strength and durability to weaker materials as well, making them tougher and longer-lasting.
Metalizing Allows Conductivity
One of the big reasons for and benefits of metalizing is that it allows for better conductivity, meaning it helps electricity flow better, especially with nonconductive materials like plastic. This is very important in the telecommunications industry. Smartphones, laptops, and other devices rely heavily on metalized plastic. It also serves to protect these devices from electric and electronic interference through internal shielding that wouldn’t be possible without—you guessed it—metalizing!