The Shining Benefits Of Cadmium Plating In The Aerospace Industry

by | Apr 17, 2023

Cadmium plating is a widely-used process in the aerospace industry to protect metal components against environmental elements like corrosion and wear. This involves depositing a thin layer of cadmium onto metallic surfaces using an electrolytic solution, giving it excellent corrosion resistance, superior durability, and lightweight properties that make it ideal for aerospace applications. Also, cadmium plating boasts excellent electrical conductivity and low toxicity levels – further making it suitable for use within this sector of industry.


It is a popular choice in the aerospace industry due to its numerous benefits. Not only does it offer superior corrosion resistance and durability compared to other plating processes, but the lightweight nature helps extend the lifespan of metallic components. Cadmium plating is also good for electrical parts because it conducts electricity well. Cadmium is not very toxic, so it is safe and good for the environment to use in aerospace.


If you need an effective way to shield metal components against environmental elements, consider cadmium plating. Contact Valence to discover more about our cadmium plating services and how they can benefit your aerospace applications.


What Is Cadmium Plating

Cadmium plating is an extensively-used electroplating process that involves the deposit of an extremely small amount of cadmium on metal surfaces to offer an excellent resistance to corrosion. This method is especially well-liked in the aerospace industry in which components of aircraft are frequently subjected to harsh environmental conditions. 


The metal is soft, malleable metal that has a silvery white appearance that is extremely resistant to wear, corrosion, and oxidation. It is perfect for electronic components as well as other aerospace-related applications.


For the product to be applied, the piece is submerged in the solution of cadmium salts. Then, it is then used to melt the metal on the surface. The cadmium layer is generally applied for greater durability and uniformity and the thickness is determined by the demands of the. 


It is a great solution for a variety of aerospace components because of its toughness and resistance to corrosion electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance, and its lightness. Furthermore, it’s an economical and easy to apply coating that further contributes to its acceptance in the aerospace industry.

Cadmium plating

How It Works? 

Cadmium plating is an electroplating procedure that involves depositing a thin layer of cadmium onto metal surfaces. This method is widely used in aerospace to protect parts against corrosion and wear and improve electrical conductivity, lubricity, and adhesion. 


The process begins with surface preparation, such as cleaning, degreasing, etching, and/or sandblasting as needed. After this is done, the part is submerged in a cadmium salt solution before an electric current is applied to it. 


Electric current attracts cadmium ions to the surface of a part, creating a thin cadmium layer. The thickness can be controlled by altering both the current and duration of the plating. Once done, rinse and dry the part for protection from corrosion and wear as well as improved electrical conductivity, lubricity, and adhesion.


Why Is Cadmium Plating Needed In The Aerospace Industry?


The aerospace industry requires highly durable and corrosion-resistant materials, and cadmium plating is a metal plating method that offers superior protection from these hazards. As such, it has become widely used in critical aerospace components like landing gear and aircraft engines.


Cadmium plating offers exceptional corrosion resistance and durability due to the soft nature of cadmium, making it easy to plate onto metals such as steel or aluminum. The resulting thin and protective layer resists oxidation and corrosion while also offering high wear-and-tear resistance – making it the ideal choice for components exposed to excessive stress or friction.


But it also provides superior electrical conductivity – essential for many aerospace components. Furthermore, its lightweight nature helps reduce overall component weight, which is of critical importance when designing aircraft or other aerospace vehicles.


Cadmium plating is also environmentally friendly due to its low toxicity and non-flammability, as well as being a naturally occurring element that poses no hazards to humans or other living organisms. Therefore, it’s an ideal choice for use in aerospace applications.

Aerospace industry

Benefits Of Cadmium Plating

Cadmium plating is a reliable and cost-effective method widely used in the aerospace industry for providing superior protection against corrosion, wear, and tear, as well as other environmental hazards. Its benefits include adhesion, lubricity, electrical conductivity, low toxicity levels, and lightweight quality.



Adhesion is an essential factor in the aerospace industry, ensuring the secure and safe attachment of components. Cadmium plating offers a highly effective means for achieving strong adhesion between parts even under extreme temperatures or harsh environments.


Cadmium plating offers excellent adhesion, protecting against wear, tear, and corrosion, making it ideal for aerospace applications. Its low surface energy also resists contaminants, ensuring components stay securely attached even in challenging conditions.



Lubricity is an integral characteristic of materials used in aerospace engineering, as it helps reduce friction and wear on components during operation. Cadmium plating is an ideal option for lubricity, as it forms a thin layer of cadmium that creates a low-friction surface. This reduces wear and tear on parts while using less energy to move them. 


Cadmium plating’s lubricity also reduces noise generated by moving parts, which is beneficial for passengers aboard aircraft. Furthermore, its ease of maintenance reduces costs associated with keeping parts running optimally – saving both time and money in the aerospace industry.


Corrosion Protection

Cadmium plating is highly sought-after in the aerospace industry for its superior corrosion protection, especially under extreme environmental conditions. Cadmium acts as a sacrificial anode by corroding in place of the underlying metal; this phenomenon, known as galvanic corrosion protection, plays an integral role in why cadmium plating is preferred over other coatings.


The cadmium coating creates a protective shield between metals and their environment, blocking moisture and other corrosive elements from reaching the underlying metal. This barrier helps prevent oxidation and corrosion, keeping your metal in good condition. 


Moreover, it also prevents galvanic corrosion – when two dissimilar metals come into contact – by acting as an insulator between them, avoiding this process from taking place.


Cadmium coating offers excellent protection against saltwater corrosion, an issue prevalent in many aerospace applications. The coating acts as a shield between metal and saltwater, preventing it from damaging the metal’s condition while keeping it looking new.


Additionally, cadmium coating helps prevent stress corrosion cracking – a frequent issue in aerospace applications. By decreasing stress on the metal substrate, this protective layer keeps it from cracking or breaking down under extreme environmental conditions.


Wear Resistance

In the aerospace industry, wear resistance is a critical factor when selecting the plating materials for components. Cadmium plating offers exceptional wear resistance compared to other metals due to its unique properties that create a hard and wear-resistant surface that can withstand repeated friction and abuse.


Cadmium plating is the process of depositing a thin layer of cadmium onto component surfaces, creating a hard and durable barrier that shields underlying materials from damage. Also, this layer reduces friction between components, which in turn helps prevent wear and tear.


Cadmium plating provides superior corrosion protection, which is essential for aerospace components. The hard, wear-resistant layer protects the component from corrosion damage, increasing its longevity. Cadmium’s corrosion-resistant qualities make it an ideal choice for components exposed to extreme environmental conditions and temperatures.


Electrical Conductivity

Electrical conductivity is an absolute must in aerospace applications, as many components rely on this property for proper functioning. Cadmium plating stands as the gold standard when it comes to electrical conductivity due to its superior conductive properties compared to other metals. 


The process involves electroplating a thin layer of cadmium onto substrates like steel or aluminum, this serves as an efficient conductor, allowing electrical current to flow through it efficiently. This property makes cadmium plating particularly suitable for components requiring electrical connections like wiring harnesses or other parts that need electrical connections of any sort.


Cadmium plating boasts the lowest electrical resistivity of all metals, enabling superior electrical conductivity compared to other metals. This characteristic allows current to flow through a component with minimal resistance, leading to improved performance and efficiency. 


Furthermore, cadmium plating offers superior protection against corrosion which could otherwise cause electrical shorts or other related problems. Hence, cadmium plating is an ideal option for components in aerospace applications that need both electrical conductivity and corrosion protection.


Low Toxicity 

In the aerospace industry, low toxicity is an essential consideration when selecting a plating material. Cadmium plating is often chosen due to its inherent safety features. Cadmium plating, a naturally occurring element, is widely used in industrial processes and is known for its durability and corrosion resistance when applied to aircraft components.


Cadmium plating is considered safe when used properly, as it’s non-toxic and doesn’t release any hazardous substances into the environment. The plating process has been designed to minimize cadmium released into air or water, making it a reliable option for aerospace applications that demand safety.


Cadmium plating not only offers safety features but also provides superior corrosion protection by creating an impermeable barrier that shields the substrate from external influences such as moisture or corrosive agents. This extends the longevity of aircraft components and keeps them in optimal condition.


Cadmium plating also features low friction properties that reduce wear and tear on components, making maintenance and operation much simpler. Furthermore, these properties reduce noise, vibration, and other elements that could adversely impact aircraft performance.


Lightweight Quality 

In those working in aviation, plating using Cadmium can be beneficial in terms of lightweight. This method of plating is widely regarded for its ability to reduce the weight of all parts of an aircraft, resulting in a higher efficiency of the use of fuel and performance. Cadmium plating is especially beneficial for this reason because of its lower weight in comparison to other plating components like zinc or aluminum. In addition, it has superior endurance, making it the ideal material for lightweight but durable parts that are used in aircraft.


In addition, Cadmium plating has superior resistance to corrosion when compared to other plating compounds used for the plating of metallic. The application of cadmium-based plating creates a barrier to protect the metal underneath the layer from getting corroded. Thus, Cadmium plating is the most suitable choice for parts that are exposed to harsh conditions, such as airplane engines and aircraft landing gear.


When it comes to manufacturing capabilities, the lightweight cadmium plating makes it much easier to form and produce in the manufacturing process. This permits the production of complex components like landing gear for aircraft, which require strength and lightness. Thus, Cadmium plating is a common method employed in the aviation industry to make sturdy and lightweight aircraft parts.



Efficiency is an essential consideration in aerospace applications, and cadmium plating offers several advantages to this end. The plating is relatively straightforward to apply and can be applied rapidly, leading to time and cost savings during production. 


Its thin and lightweight nature makes it suitable for aerospace applications where weight reduction is key. Moreover, the plating helps reduce friction and wear on components by increasing their lifespan; additionally, cadmium plating can be applied to various shapes and sizes, making it versatile enough for many different parts. 


With all these advantages combined, cadmium plating becomes a cost-effective choice for aerospace applications.


Types Of Cadmium Plating

Cadmium plating is a highly-effective process used in the aerospace industry due to its versatility in applying it to various surfaces and materials. Common methods of cadmium plating employed here include:


Bright Cadmium Plating: Zinc-nickel cadmium plating is ideal for aerospace applications due to its uniformity and thickness. It provides enhanced corrosion protection, making it a popular choice for critical components like landing gear and fasteners.

Sulfamate Cadmium Plating: Sulfamate cadmium plating is a highly durable and uniform coating that provides enhanced corrosion protection for critical aerospace components like valves and fuel tanks. Unlike other cadmium plating types, sulfamate cadmium plating achieves its durability through a chemical reaction with sulfamate acid, ensuring superior resistance against corrosion and wear and tear.

Chromate Cadmium Plating: Chromate cadmium plating is a corrosion-resistant variant of cadmium plating commonly used in aerospace applications. This plating technique creates a thin and uniform coating that provides superior protection against corrosion – ideal for critical aircraft components such as fuel tanks and wings.

Zinc-Nickel Cadmium Plating: Zinc-nickel cadmium plating is an electroplating process that deposits a uniform, thick coating on components to provide enhanced corrosion protection. This type of plating is particularly suitable for aerospace applications due to its thickness and uniformity; thus it ensures safe and dependable operation even in harsh environmental conditions. 

Zinc-nickel cadmium plating is often applied to critical components like landing gear and fasteners which require high degrees of shielding from external elements for safe operations.

Zinc-Iron Cadmium Plating: Zinc-iron cadmium plating is a type of cadmium plating often used for components requiring higher corrosion resistance. This method of plating stands out due to its uniform and dense coating that offers superior protection from elements. Zinc-iron cadmium plating can be found on valves, fuel tanks, and other parts that need protection from external elements.


Final Thoughts

Cadmium plating is a widely-used process in the aerospace industry due to its superior corrosion protection and durability. When compared with other plating processes like zinc plating, cadmium plating offers several advantages such as improved adhesion, lubricity, and low toxicity.


It is an ideal choice for aerospace applications due to its superior protection against corrosion and wear while being lightweight and efficient. Also, it’s safe to use and environmentally friendly – making it the ideal solution in the aerospace industry.


If you’re searching for a reliable plating process that can shield your aerospace components from corrosion, wear, and other elements, cadmium plating is a perfect choice. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to learn more about our cadmium plating services and how we can meet your requirements. 


Let us help you achieve the best performance and protection for your aerospace components through our quality cadmium plating process. Contact us today to learn more about our services and experience the benefits of cadmium plating for your aerospace industry.


For additional topics of interest, check out:



What is cadmium plating on landing gear? 

Cadmium plating of the landing gears is an electroplating technique that uses an electrolytic bath that deposits a tiny layer of cadmium over the exterior of the gear. The cadmium coating is extremely resistant to corrosion and acts as a protective coating that prevents wear and tear to equipment for landing.


Is cadmium good for the environment?

Cadmium is not thought to be beneficial to the environment as it is poisonous and could be dangerous to plants and animals when let into the atmosphere. However, when employed in electroplating the cadmium does not get released into the atmosphere but is instead contained in the bath used for plating.


What impacts does cadmium have? 

Cadmium has a range of environmental impacts. It is a toxic chemical that can cause adverse health effects for human beings if it is consumed or breathed in. It also has an impact on aquatic life when released into the water source.


Is cadmium plating safe? 

Cadmium plating is generally safe if it is done correctly. The cadmium is in the plating bath and isn’t released into the atmosphere and therefore does not present a threat to the health of humans. But, it is crucial to ensure that precautions are taken when handling cadmium and plating solutions.


How does cadmium prevent corrosion? 

Cadmium is extremely resistant to corrosion and helps protect the metal beneath it from rust. Cadmium creates an insulator between the material and its surroundings, stopping oxygen and moisture from coming in close contact with the material, and causing corrosion.


Is cadmium plating better than zinc plating?

The use of cadmium plating is widely believed to be more efficient than zinc plating for corrosion resistance. Cadmium is more costly than zinc, however, it is more secure against corrosion. Additionally, it lasts longer than zinc plating. As a result, it is usually the most preferred choice for aerospace.

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