Home /
Search 🔍
the Site

Chime right in! (no registration req'd)


"Require Iridescent Passivation Solution"

The word 'passivation' is general and slang-y, so in your reading, try to treat it more as a filler word rather than a specification.

In the case at hand, steel parts are often zinc electroplated, or zinc-alloy electroplated (zinc-cobalt, zinc-iron, or zinc-nickel). But after that electroplating they are invariably given a "chromate conversion coating" to increase the corrosion resistance and to deter white rust. This chromate conversion coating process is one of many processes which may sometimes be referred to as "passivation".

The zinc and zinc alloy plating with chromate conversion coating often exhibits iridescence but is usually rather strongly yellow, and is generally regarded as a functional coating rather than a decorative one. In this particular case Boris is apparently seeking a particular decorative look, strong in reds and purples.

July 16, 2021

Q. Good day. I require an Iridescent Passivation solution. I run a small line so I am interested to buy the minimum quantity. Please understand as international postage can be quite high, I am happy to pay what is possible to send a small quantity to suit a 120L tank.

Example of iridescent passivate finish:


Boris Siljanoski
- Perth, Western Australia

  ^- Privately respond to this RFQ -^

Ed. note: As always, gentle readers, technical replies in public and commercial replies in private please ( huh? why?)

July 2021

A. Hi Boris. What type of plating are you doing? Chromates applied onto zinc-nickel plating rather than onto zinc plating tend to show more of this reddish-purple tone. Even still, requiring a particular decorative look from what is generally considered a functional finish is perhaps going to take some work on your end, not just chemicals :-)

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

July 16, 2021

Q. We do zinc plating. We have been in contact with suppliers who provide chromate conversion solutions that impart an "iridescent" finish. One supplier who I contacted directly had many different types and replied being very keen to send a smaller quantity however later replied mentioning minimum order quantity is 1 ton.

The only supplier we have access to in our city can order most things from Macdermid Enthone of which we use a few of their products that come in 20L containers. Anything that is not kept in stock we must know the product code first before enquiring with them.

A lot of our work is not so much industrial where function is often key, however it is automotive and restoration where people are trying to get a similar finish to what may have been on the car from factory, nothing can be exact and we well understand this. We do our best within our plating line including putting clients' jobs on individually so we can get the hue of their finish more toward their desires. I used to use various plating shops myself but parts kept being lost in the tanks, contamination issues, etc. Fast forward to today I had become close friends to an electroplater who is now retired and we have started our own line for smaller jobs that require extra care and attention.

We notice some parts, mainly from Japanese cars and parts do have this iridescent looking finish. It appears to be much more common in the Asian market and some countries in Europe.

Boris Siljanoski [returning]
- Perth, Western Australia

  ^- Privately respond to this RFQ -^

July 2021

A. Hi again. Hopefully a supplier will reach out to you, and hopefully they will tell you that my knowledge is dated, but I think the items in that photo are zinc-nickel plated rather than zinc plated ...

Iridescence is not a color that comes from a dye or pigment -- even a drop of motor oil on a mud puddle will give a rainbow iridescent shine. It's cause is the fact that a portion of the light hitting the surface bounces off the top of the chromate layer, while a portion travels further passing through and bouncing off the plating. The paths being different lengths gets the two halves out of sync, augmenting some wavelengths and attenuating others.

I noticed years ago, when zinc-nickel first became popular, that it showed far more reds and purples, and far less yellow, than the chromated zinc plating I had long been familiar with. Presumably this was because the chromate was thinner because it reacted differently with the zinc-nickel. Things are different these days, with many different approaches to gaining/hiding iridescence available, but in my limited experience this is zinc-nickel plating :-)

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

finishing.com is made possible by ...
this text gets replaced with bannerText
spacer gets replaced with bannerImages

Q, A, or Comment on THIS thread SEARCH for Threads about ... My Topic Not Found: Start NEW Thread

Disclaimer: It's not possible to fully diagnose a finishing problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations might be harmful.

If you are seeking a product or service related to metal finishing, please check these Directories:

Chemicals &
Consult'g, Train'g
& Software

About/Contact    -    Privacy Policy    -    ©1995-2021 finishing.com, Pine Beach, New Jersey, USA