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topic 11178

Non-conductive plating for copper

A discussion started in 2001 but continuing through 2019


Q. I am looking for a plating process for copper that is electrical non-conductive? Is there such a plating?

Gene Kelly
- Goffstown, New Hampshire


A. It's called paint. You can't "plate" it if it's non-conductive.

bill vins
Bill Vins
microwave & cable assemblies - Mesa (what a place-a), Arizona 


A. This depends a lot on what the characteristics of the coating have to be. Environment? Mechanical abuse? Contact time? Even the dimensions and metrics of the item to be coated has to be considered, as well as the area of the coated surface.

Certainly vitreous enamel comes to mind, but epoxies may work. If there is not a lot of friction or abrasion involved, maybe even a thick stable powder coating? If you don't need huge dielectrics, there are many polymerics which might be applicable as well.

Typical electrical isolation for copper, outside of electronics, is done by placing a physical insulator between contact surfaces. In microelectronics (chips, microcircuits, etc.) intermediate layers of ceramics are deposited between layers of copper, but this is not generally done on mechanical items because of the physical limitations of the thin layers involved.

Dale Woika
- Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, USA


A. By its nature electroplating indicates that the product to be deposited is conductive. However coating with electrophoretic lacquer should produce a non-conductive surface after curing. I would not know of the insulation qualities of such a coating but it would not be conductive. You need to give more details of the application for the learned people who frequent this forum to better answer your question.

bob lynch Bob Lynch
plating company - Sydney, Australia

Plating Copper: Heat vs. Electricity

September 18, 2019

Q. Is there any plating that can be done on copper such that it keeps its heat conductivity properties but reduces it's electrical conductivity? Thanks.

Steve Bowdoin
- Boston, Massachusetts, USA

September 2019

A. Hi Steve. Lots of coatings (not electroplatings though) can be put onto copper to provide electrical insulation without having a large impact on the thermal conductivity. As you probably know, the bulk of the electrical transfer and heat transfer will occur in the bulk of your object, but an insulating coating will stop other things from touching the copper and can stop current flow. Heat flows from the object by conduction, convection, and radiation and it's possible that the coating will have fairly negligible thermal resistance.

If you provide the function of the component and your situation people can probably provide useful suggestions. Good luck.


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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
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