Is steel without a coating safe from the environment?

Alba Rodriguez

June 14, 2022

June 14, 2022

Steel is a metal that is used in many different industries worldwide. Steel can easily be stamped, welded, and carved into various shapes depending on the type of part needed in the industry. Steel without any type of coating can be less durable, and prone to corrosion in many different environments.

At Pavco we recognize that one of the most demanded metal finishes is electroplating, this plating or electroplating can help strengthen the steel part as well as protect it from factors that cause corrosion. Check out the plating technologies we have developed at Pavco!

How does electroplating work in steel?

Depending on the purpose of the steel part, various types of electroplating can be used to enhance the properties of the steel. Electroplating is a process in which electrodeposition is used to coat metal(s) onto a part.

The part being coated is the cathode, which is submerged in electrolytic solution with an anode and an electric current is applied. The electric current causes anions to move to the anode (various types of anodes depending on the coating being applied) and for cations to move to the cathode, coating the part in the metal desired.

Benefits of electroplating the steel

Electroplating steel can help strengthen the material. The coated metal on the steel can increase the tensile strength of the part, allowing the lifespan of the part to increase. The coating adds a protective shield to the steel base of the part. This allows the part to not be damaged as easily during use or if dropped or hit against another part.

Oh, don’t forget that If the steel is brittle in nature, the coating helps protect the brittleness of the part. The electroplated coating will dissolve before the steel will, increasing the lifespan of the part being used.

Coatings on steel also increase the torque tolerance of fasteners. Allowing bolts and screws to be stronger depending on what the parts are being used for. To further increase the torque tolerance, a passivate and topcoat can be applied over the electroplated coating.

Why use the electroplated coating for steel?

Electroplating also helps prevent steel parts from corroding. Depending on the purpose of the part, whether it will be outdoors with environmental elements, or in a humid bathroom, electroplated coatings will increase the amount of time before any corrosion or rust forms significantly.

The type of coating will depend on how much the part will be exposed to corrosive elements. This reduces the number of times a part needs to be changed out or replaced due to rust forming on the part. Corrosion also attacks the integrity of the steel, allowing it to break down and become much more brittle over time.

Decorative electroplated coatings not only protect the steel from corrosion and damage but create a cosmetically appealing coating. Decorative coatings are used for parts that not only need to prevent corrosion but need to look aesthetically pleasing to the consumer’s eye.

Nickel and Chrome plating are typically used on steel parts that need to be decorative in nature. Decorative coatings are often used on steel parts that will be highly visible, such as exterior and interior car parts, kitchen hardware, bathroom hardware, and furniture hardware.

Electroplating on steel is a must to ensure the quality, strength, and lifespan of the parts used. Various types of electroplated coatings exist in today’s market that will fit any type of need for steel parts. Without any coating, steel parts have a higher risk of becoming brittle, corroding, and worsening in appearance.

At Pavco we are convinced that the quality of our products is paramount for our industry, that's why we invite you to check out all the downloads you can review on our site, and don't forget to check our blog to learn more about the metal finishing industry!

Brittany Mckinney

Technical Service Engineer



We’re a developer and supplier of chemistries for the metal finishing industry since 1948.

In PAVCO, we develop products and deliver services of the highest quality at a reasonable cost.