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Tin/Lead accumulation on plastic


We are plating leaded glass diodes using a wheel type plating. The wheel is composed of titanium teeth contacts and plastic (PVC)on the side. Our problem is that after about 2 months of using the new ly installed wheel, the pvc plastic is also being plated. The tin/lead accumulation is on the side near to the 2 titanium teeth. How come that the plastic was being plated. How can we prevent this or do you know other type of plastic we can use that will not be plated?

Rosette Mendoza
- Manila, NCR, Philippines


Rosette, If you are getting plating onto the PVC, then consider two other plastics, ie. PP and Pe, Polypropylene and Polyethylene instead. It may be that your chemistry eventually allows the PVC to be plated.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [deceased]
(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).


No matter what plastic you use, it may eventually start to plate. This will rob current from the parts you are plating and cause quality and non uniform plate thickness problems. To solve this problem, you will need to strip the plate off of the PVC or other plastic parts on a regular basis.

Your plating chemistry supplier can probably also supply a good immersion solder stripper.

Lyle Kirman
consultant - Cleveland Heights, Ohio


PVC is a type of plastic that can easily be plated. Obviously your plating chemistry allows this. What you need to do is have a regular program of stripping the PVC so that you will not have other problems.

Peter E. de Dios
- Binan, Laguna


Hello Rosette,

You may use higher dense material. This will only prolong the time though before accumulation start. Bottom line is, it will still be plated. Hence, you may set the period where accumulation starts and be the basis of your PM.

- Philippines



Others say or infer that eventually any plastic will get plated ... and the reason I suggested Pe or PP is that I cannot recall ANY plated products made from these materials although highly special and expensive, I guess, treatments could allow them to get plated.

If possible, try them out. If this doesn't work, then try a fluorocarbon, the top of the line being PTFE teflon.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [deceased]
(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).

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