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Can I apply PVD on a zinc plated surface or HDG steel sheet directly?

Q. I have a project that needs to achieve a specific color which is hardly achievable using any finish method other than PVD coating.

The substrate is a HDG steel Sheet, actually, it's a 275 gm/m HDG steel sheet.

We tried some samples and they achieved the color appearance that we needed.

Is it durable to apply PVD coat directly on this substrate? will the color last as long as other substrates like aluminum and stainless steel last? and how about other physical properties? will it fade fast or be removed by atmospheric conditions after a while (it's an outdoor product)?

I'll be pleased if you offer me a detailed and scientific answer.. hopefully, based on practical experience.

I really appreciate any help you can provide.

Hossam Magdy Elagamy
- Cairo, Egypt
September 18, 2023

A. Hi Hossam. What kind of a PVD process are you speaking of, and what is the target material?

We'll have to await a PVD expert because I was under the impression that you could not put galvanizing into a PVD chamber because it would sublimate at low vapor pressure.
Luck & Regards,

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

A. Zinc has a very high vapor pressure, so zinc-plated parts should never be put in a vacuum chamber for PVD coating. Zinc will spread throughout the chamber, rendering it unusable. Better to deposit the PVD coating directly on the steel, though the best approach would be to electroplate nickel and a thin layer of trivalent chromium to provide corrosion resistance and give the PVD finish a harder base.

jim treglio portrait
Jim Treglio -
PVD Consultant & Wine Lover - San Diego,

September 21, 2023

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