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letter 35541

How to achieve a Black PVD finish on Stainless Steel

A discussion started in 2005 & continuing through 2017 -- add your Q to bring it back to the Hot Topics page.


Q. We use Methane (instead of Acetylene) for carbon on an arc PVD machine and want to produce a black finish on stainless steel parts.
We have already tried TiCN as well as ZrCN but, so far, the results have been less than satisfactory.
Does anyone have any idea on how to get a nice and stable black this way?

luis godinho
Luis Henrique de Andrea Lencastre Godinho
plating shop - Vagos, Portugal


A. We actually produced a great black in one of our production systems about two years ago. We weren't trying to get a black coating -- we had a wee bit of an accident. I had a friend try to duplicate our coating. He did -- but couldn't do it consistently.

The closest to black PVD coating that can be deposited consistently by cathodic arc is AlTiN (60% Al). Unfortunately, AlTi targets with 60% Al are very expensive.

treglio portrait
Jim Treglio
- Vista, California


Q. I wonder if somebody got deep black color with titanium targets on stainless steel with nitrogen and acetylene gas and what is the correct mixture.

Thanks, Iztok

Iztok Kouta
- Italia


? What mixture are you using, Iztok, and what color are you getting?

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

September 3, 2010

Q. I want to coat brass black by PVD arc evaporation which are nickel and chrome plated. I couldn't catch color and some fluctuations occur on surface. is there any one achieve black coating on brass by PVD or know anything about this problem. Which cathode and process parameters I can use?


- Bilecik, TURKEY

August 14, 2017

Q. I have purchased black titanium sheets from 2 different suppliers.

We die stamp the sheets: The one supplier's sheets are a true solid black glossy finish -- no problem stamping.

The second sheet however is more of a grey off-shade of black, and when die stamped the color comes off in the bent spots.
Both sheets are to be of the same grade T304 #8
Why would the 2nd one react like this?

Kimberly Vabcde
- Westlock, AB, Canada

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