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topic 0342

Cad plating per Mil-Std-870

A discussion started in 1996 and continuing through 2013.
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Q. I have some parts that have the following specification called out:
Cad plate per Mil-Std-870 [link by ed. to spec at TechStreet].

Does someone know basically what this standard consists of, Pertaining mostly to color and type of plating that is?

Also what other options do I have as far as color & type of Cadmium plating I can have done to these parts. As it is not a requirement that these part meet Mil-Std-870.

Thank you

Brian Case


A. Brian -

Try this service for more information:
You can find out what any spec is by doing a search. You can also order specs if you'd like from this on-line service.



A. Thanks, Melissa. A similar standards clearinghouse, Techstreet, offers a small commission for click-thrus, which pays for our time to build direct hotlinks to individual specs as they are mentioned, saving the extra step of readers having to look up the spec. We're not suggesting that one clearinghouse is better than the other, just explaining why our links point to that one. People should buy specs wherever they prefer.

Brian: cadmium can be applied from a cyanide or an acid cadmium bath, but the performance specification should be similar. Cadmium is nearly always chromated, from which you can get a blue/bright, a yellow, an olive drab, or a black color. It is also possible to dye the chromate (you may have seen 'metric blue' or 'grounding screw green' dyes); however, the dyed colors will be unsaturated and pastel-like, so don't go asking for fire-engine red or canary yellow smiley

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Q. Nothing to add to current topic but I have a question of my own...

The "olive drab" process is referenced by its ability to create a green color and excellent corrosion resistance...

Is there any information on activators? (e.g., part A--chromate Part B--?)

Please help me increase the corrosion capabilities beyond that of chromate alone. thanks.

Jim Wilkes


A. Hi Jim. Personally I've never seen an American shop attempt to formulate their own chromates (there is a lot to doing it optimally); I am personally only familiar with buying the chromate from suppliers.

A lacquer or water-soluble post-dip can improve the corrosion resistance (but is not always appropriate, of course). Don't consider it without the customer's knowledge and approval as it affects conductivity, paint adhesion, etc.

Update May 2013: These days trivalent chromates are almost universal and the chromate supplier supplies a matched post-dip. Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

January 17, 2013 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Cadmium plated bolt & nut in which color, i.e., black or white or gold? Is there any IS code for cadmium plated bolt, nut? If there is please mention it.

Mohamed Arief Deen
- Trichy, Tamilnadu, India

January 17, 2013

A. Hi Mohamed.

Chromate conversion coatings for cadmium plated bolts are available in any of those three colors. There are numerous (dozens) of standards for cadmium plated nuts and bolts. Most cadmium seems to be yellow chromated, and a lot is olive drab; but I don't know of specs that call for it to be a particular color except for specs that go with specific parts. Other readers may know though.

Thanks and Regards,

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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