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topic 0931

Alternatives to Chromium and Cadmium in Aerospace Industry


I'm a graduate student at Queen's here, and I'm doing a report on the alternative to Cr and Cd plating in the aerospace industry. However, the content requirements include concerns of companies regarding these alternatives and ideally cost considerations for the change-over. These are not things that are readily available in papers and journals. Therefore, I'd very much appreciate any comments and/or leads to point me in the right direction.

Thanks in advance.

Cedric Cheung
- Queen's University

Here is part of something that came across the electronic desk of; the event is over, but there are contacts in it:

Aluminum IVD as Cadmium Replacement (1997)


You're invited to attend a presentation for a FINAL REPORT on "Cadmium-Plating Alternatives for Electrical Connectors", with an emphasis on using the Aluminum-IVD process as a Mil-Spec replacement for Cadmium.

Meeting location is the McKinney Site "Mini-Auditorium" on Wednesday, April 16, from 2:00 to 3:30 PM. Your RSVP is strongly encouraged. Over sixty (60) RSVPs have been received so far, so you're encouraged to get yours in today.
Please feel free to forward this invitation to all potentially interested TI parties.

Meeting Purpose and Agenda

1) Quickly review an "exhaustive" Trade Study by the CITV Gen-II program (Abrams M1A2 FLIR) on elimination of cadmium-plating on its electrical connectors (Cylindrical D38999 and D Sub-Miniature M24308).
2) Review TI Environmental and Design policy for Cadmium elimination
3) Showcase the Aluminum IVD process as a top-ranking Mil-Spec approved candidate for Cadmium replacement, with strong endorsements from the US Air Force, Army and Navy.
4) Brief presentations from Plating Mfgs with other cadmium alternatives.
5) Extended "Round Table" discussion.

Attendees will include people from the following organizations:
Military: F22 - JSF - F15 - F16 - V22 - H1 - C2 - TACOM
USAF Electronics Failure Analysis Lab
US Naval Air Warfare / Naval Sea Systems
Manufacturing: Electrical Connector Mfgs (5), Plating Mfgs (5)

US Air Force Report : "The Substitution of IVD Aluminum for Cadmium"

"Electrical Connectors : IVD aluminum has a distinct advantage over cadmium and nickel on aluminum alloy connectors. In tests conducted by MCAIR, IVD aluminum provided the needed electrical conductivity, in addition to corrosion protection, that would allow the 500-hour salt-spray requirements of common connector specifications like MIL-C-38999 to be increased to 1,000 hours. The connectors ... were also mated and unmated 150 times per MIL-C-38999 -- 50 times before each exposure, after 500 hours of exposure, and 1,000 hours of exposure. Nickel plated connectors cannot normally be unmated due to corrosion after 500 hours of exposure."

US Army Environmental Center / Aberdeen Proving Ground:

"Aluminum ion vapor deposition (AIVD) is a process that can be used to plate aluminum on metal parts. This technology, which was originally developed in the 1970's for use on aircraft parts, does not generate the rinse waters, sludges, or spent electrolyte solutions that are associated with conventional electroplating. With the exception of a small quantity of waste generated during periodic cleaning of internal components of the system, AIVD coating generates no wastes."

Best Regards,
Douglas A. Coggeshall

I need to find companies that do aluminum IVD coatings on titanium fasteners.

Jeffrey Feddersen


Several vacuum coating companies as well as electroplaters provide the aluminum IVD service. As a matter of fact, IVD was developed for aluminum only. The only drawback, as I understand, is the weekly downtime costs which may run into several thousand dollars. It is a good choice as replacement for cadmium when the coating can be somewhat thicker [12 microns (1 mil) thick or above]. Air Force has estimated that about 50% of the cadmium could be replaced by IVD Al.

If you need coating service, call AAA Plating in Compton CA or EMBEE in Santa Ana, CA

Mandar Sunthankar
- Fort Collins, Colorado


I would like to chose the correct unit to enable my company to offer a chromium plating service the parts. I would like to coat would be used in mechanical and decorative finishes i.e. hydraulic rams and classic car parts, etc.



Hi Chris:

We have an Introduction to Chrome Plating on line here that you may fins interesting.

A chrome plating tank is simply a container, and picking the right one is only as important in chrome plating as picking the right sugar bowl is to baking. You might consider an intensive course in chrome plating before you buy any chromic acid and become responsible for it forever. Good luck!

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

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