Cadmium Plating is the coating process used for corrosion-resistant plating on steel. Cadmium is the soft silvery-white or bluish-gray metal similar to zinc and mercury often used in electric batteries, coatings, pigments, and electroplating. Because of its protective qualities, Cadmium Plating is a preferred coating for components utilized in aircraft manufacturing and marine environments.

The Benefits of Cadmium Plating

Cadmium Plating offers various technical benefits that include low levels of galvanic corrosion when in contact with aluminum. It also provides corrosion resistance in aquatic environments. Cadmium plates surfaces are also resistant to mold and bacteria growth. It is pliant and can be soldered almost as well as tin. Cadmium Plating also provides excellent lubricity, outstanding conductivity, rust prevention, and low electrical contact resistance. Its attractive white luster is similar to silver plating.

Because of its many advantages and superior protective qualities, cadmium plating is widely used in aerospace applications, salt-water settings, and the harshest environments. The aircraft industry uses Cadmium Plating because it helps reduce the corrosion of their flight-critical steel components. Cadmium is also applied to the transportation industry, electronics, and consumer products.

Cadmium closely resembles Zinc Plating for some applications. It can be clear, dyed in many colors, and works well as either a paint base or final finish. Typical chromates include clear, yellow, olive drab and black. Typical thickness is .0002″ – .0008″ deposit. QQ-P-416F is the Federal standard for Cadmium Plating.

Types of Cadmium Plating

  • Type I: As plated.  
  • Type II: Supplementary chromate treatment. Type II plating shall not show white corrosion products of cadmium, pitting, or basis metal corrosion products at the end of 96 hours (20%) salt spray exposure per the following table:
  • Type III: Supplementary phosphate treatment. Type III shall conform to Type I of TT-C-490. Type III is used as a paint base.
  • Class 1: 0.0005″ minimum thickness
  • Class 2: 0.0003″ minimum thickness
  • Class 3: 0.0002″ minimum thickness

Do you have Cadmium Plating needs? We are the one-stop source for all metal finishing and plating needs. We have developed an extensive network of Metal Fabrication, CNC Machining, Extrusion, Stamping & Metal Finishing Companies throughout North and South America. The companies we work with all maintain a minimum Quality Management System of ISO 9001:2008.

Aerospace Metals (AM) was founded in 2012 by Paul Fredericks as a non-asset based third party metal coatings and fabrication broker. Paul Fredericks has 28 years of experience in metal finishing as an owner and operator.

All our processes use verified best suppliers. And because we know exactly where to find inefficiencies in the outsourcing chain, you can expect less rework and lost parts. With AM, you won’t hear the typical excuses you’ve probably encountered in the past from other shops. We offer a comprehensive review of your entire outsourcing platform. If you have questions about Cadmium Plating or concerns about our processes, call us today at 800.398.0790 or email us at