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The process of vacuum deposition coating is a commonly used method that utilizes evaporation techniques. This process takes place in a vacuum-controlled setting where the user has a high amount of control over the entire evaporation process. In addition to this, vacuum deposition gives the user flexibility in that the evaporation process isn’t only limited to metals, but it can coat plastics as well. Some products that you would be familiar with include mirrors and fireman’s visors. Through the use of specialized vacuum coating systems, the possibilities are endless.
When plastics are coated, the most commonly used types of metals used are gold, silver, copper, or aluminum. A perfect example would be a mirror. It’s first placed inside a vacuum chamber and then rotated while the evaporated metal is deposited all around it. In certain cases, 3D objects can also be coated.
The Deposition Process
Physical vapor deposition utilizes electromechanical, mechanical, or thermodynamic means to produce a film on the substrate. The material that’s being used for deposition is placed in an energetic environment for the purpose that the particles of the material will escape to the surface. The source also contains a cooler surface that essentially draws energy from the particles when they arrive, hence creating a solid layer. Then, the vacuum environment begins its work as the layer is deposited by an atom or molecule. The sub-atmospheric pressure of the vacuum allows for the solid surface. Additionally, the vacuum deposition systems that are used allow particles to travel freely around the chamber without any risk of disruption.
There are numerous advantages when it comes to working with physical vapor deposition. For one, PVD coatings tend to be harder and more resistant to corrosion than electroplating coatings. Also, coatings will also have high temperature and impact strength. This is important as subtle damages can destroy coatings. With PVD, it offers more an abrasion resistant feel to it. Furthermore, PVD coatings are more environmentally friendly than traditional processes, making this method much more preferable.
On the other hand, this method can also impose certain constraints like poor line-of-sight transfer that comes with many PVD coating technologies. However, this can be easily countered with other methods that allow full coverage of complex shapes and structures.
When someone uses PVD coatings, they’re looking to improve electrical conductivity, optical performance, and the resistance to oxidation. Many times you’ll see these coatings in industries such as: aerospace, automotive, medicine, and even in the military. The growth of this coating method has allowed scientists and researchers to develop it even more to enhance all the typical characteristics that you would find in this method.
Denton Vacuum, LLC is a high-end supplier of vacuum deposition systems perfect for vacuum metalizing. For more information, visit them online today.