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topic 14081

Applying PVD metal coatings to ceramic tiles

A discussion started in 2002 but continuing through 2020


Q. I would appreciate receiving any information about manufacture processes to apply a metallic coating over ceramic tiles (wall tiles). It would be possible to cover the tiles with PVD coatings?

Thank you very much in advance,

Charo Fernandez
- Spain


A. It is possible to PVD coat the tiles, but not very easy. The first problem is that the tiles are insulators. You may have to go to a ion beam assisted deposition process to get adequate adhesion. Second, the tiles will probably outgas quite a bit. The outgassing will slow the process down considerably. Third, there's a lot of heat generated in the PVD process. If the tiles heat up is non-uniform -- which it very well may be -- the temperature differential may cause cracking. I've seen this in glass. Finally, many hard PVD coatings are quite highly stressed. This can also cause cracking of the tile.

Much of the above depends on the coating that you are interested in, and the thickness. It might be practical for a decorative coating, but the thickness needed for functionality (wear resistance) is probably too great to be practical.

jim treglio portrait
Jim Treglio
PVD Consultant - San Diego, California


A. It is possible to PVD coat ceramic tiles. The question is what purpose, what finish, and at what price. I could provide more information if needed.

Mandar Sunthankar
- Fort Collins, Colorado

April 13, 2019

Q. Hello,
I want to mask part of ceramic tile before PVD coating. Can someone help me to choose best masking materials?

Arezoo AB
ICAN - Tehran, Iran

April 2019

A. Hi, Arezoo. Topic 42568, "Masking for PVD Process" should offer most of the answers you need. Can you give the waiting readers a quick intro to PVD on ceramic tile. Thanks!


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

April 15, 2019

Q. I want to mask ceramic tiles before coating TiN by PVD coating. I want to use suitable resin or wax for this work. Can someone help me to choose best masking materials. If I use Al foil for masking, how can I stick Al foil to substrate? Thanks.

Arezoo ab [returning]
- ICAN,Tehran,Iran

April 17, 2019

A. Wax, resin, etc. are not suitable. They may out-gas, burn and contaminate the entire system. As suggested before, try aluminum or ss foil. You have to find some way of fixing the masks properly. Alternately coat the whole tile and then etch the unwanted portions chemically using standard masking procedures.

H.R. Prabhakara
Bangalore Plasmatek - Bangalore, Karnataka, India

April 30, 2019

A. You can use boron nitride paste. It can be sprayed on or painted on. Needs to dry first, but it can take very high temperature, blocks the PVD coating, and washes off easily. An alternative is VacSeal, the stuff used to seal leaks in high vacuum systems. It needs to cure first, but handles high heat and can be removed with acetone.

jim treglio portrait
Jim Treglio
PVD Consultant - San Diego, California

Cleaning ceramics before PVD coating

January 2, 2020

Q. How do I clean ceramic pots from contamination and fingerprints to prepare for PVD coating? And the coating has a high adhesion?
Thanks to all friends.

Yasaman Eslami
- Iran/tehran

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