Physical Vapor Deposition’s Relationship with Vacuum Metallization

Written by: Denton Vacuum, LLC

The popularity of physical vapor deposition has spanned across years of experimentation prior to reaching the mainstream stage. As a matter of fact, before vacuum metallizing became such a huge hit for application purposes, physical vapor deposition was studied in regards to pure science.

Introduction to PVD into the Mainstream World

It wasn’t until the introduction of PVD into vacuum deposition systems did it become a hit in industries worldwide. Nowadays, the process of metallization has become routine in providing a finish on products that require reflective coatings, heat shielding, and more. Here is a breakdown of how it works and the advantages that it also brings to the table.

The Process and Breakdown

Vacuum metallization is the process that involves a metal and a vacuum-sealed environment. Typically, vacuum coating systems are used to evaporate and create the thin layers that are used to coat the substrate. Similar to other types of deposition methods, a reaction occurs within the vacuum to extract elements from a specified metal. It then creates a thin layer on top of the substrate to add mesh the properties that the metal contains into the finalized product. Now, it’s important to remember that once the properties of the metal have been placed onto the product, it must now be treated as if it was a metal. This means, it can conduct electricity, it is resilient in quality, and can provide vapor barriers – all of which should be handled carefully.

There are two types of coats that are deposited onto the specified item. The base coat is typically applied for aesthetic purposes and allows for a glossy finish. The top coat is designed to be a protective layer that covers over the base coat and the metalized layer to protect and provide adhesion. Both coats work in conjunction to each other and are vital for a clean and clear finish. In addition, they protect the product from any oxidation or degradation that may occur from the initial contact of the aluminum and ultra violet lights.

The second surface of the coating focuses more on the deposition method. The evaporated metal that is chosen is deposited on a clear substrate and then back coated with a type of opaque paint that is designed especially for PVD. Again, this area leans more towards aesthetics rather than hands-on use. However, all of the surfaces combine to create a thin layer that undoubtedly provides a multitude of benefits to the targeted substrate.