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Silver Plating (Decorative, Functional, High Purity)


Silver plating is an electrolytic process. Its properties can be utilized for either "functional" purposes such as enhanced electronic application or corrosion resistance, or, "decorative" purposes. Silver is commonly applied over preliminary coatings of copper and nickel though depending on the application this may vary.
Household silverware is sometimes described as "EPNS" which stands for "Electro-Plated Nickel, Silver" which describes that the item is electroplated with nickel then silver.  An EPNS item in good condition will be difficult to tell apart from a sterling silver (solid silver) item as the surface is actual silver.


Functional − Enhances electronic and radio wave conductivity. In a "high purity" form it is possible to achieve surface silver of around 99.99% purity. This can be of significant benefit to manufacturers seeking to maximise the quality of signal receiving or transmission.
Decorative − Silver coatings enrich the look and feel of a product − adding to the impression of quality and 'preciousness'. Next time you have the chance to compare, eat from silver cutlery and compare the experience to that of stainless steel. You'll find it both 'warmer' and 'softer'!

Colour & Aesthetics:

Silver plating has a 'white' hue and to achieve a bright finish is applied over a layer of bright nickel plating. Otherwise, silver has a dull, velvety appearance. To maintain a bright silver appearance that requires little maintenance and prevent tarnish, silver can be E-coated (a very durable clear coating) over the silver finish. (See E-coat page)


"Functional" coating examples include high-tech Electrical, Electronic or Radio Frequency components such as antennas, bus bars, connectors. "Decorative" applications commonly include silverware (teapots, trays, trinkets, etc), jewellery or hand crafted art pieces.

Substrates suited to this coating:

Silver can be plated over most metal substrates but commonly is used on brass or copper substrates. High tech applications can also involve substrates such as aluminium.

Design Cautions:

As this is an electrolytic process it is necessary to use jigging, racking or wiring to provide for electrical current conductivity. Some shapes lend themselves more easily to this than others. In some cases the addition of a sprue or hole is necessary. Please consult your plating adviser prior to finalising design if you intend to use this finishing process.
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Copyright © 2009, A Class Metal Finishers Pty Ltd. 6 Waddikee Rd, Lonsdale, South Australia, 5160. Telephone (+ 61 8 8384 4331) Email:
Specialising in Copper, Nickel & Chrome Plating, Gold Plating, Silver Plating, Tin Plating, Electroless Nickel, Plating on Plastic (ABS) and Metal Polishing

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