Plating Summary

Plating is a protective coating. Proper selection is based on the application which will also dictate thickness requirements. The common thickness used in industry today are as follows:

Gold, Hard: 50 microinch — military, process control, medical, high reliability systems.
30 microinch — general industrial applications.
20 microinch — short life
< 10 microinch — limited to application specific areas, very restrictive use. May be enhanced with lubricants or surface conditioners.
Tin (alloys) 100 microinch - Minimum recommended.
Gold Flash Pd Ni > 30 microinch (if the gold flash remains)

The following tables summarize the use of various plating systems in a variety of applications. The class definitions are in two categories, general and application specific. The second table is a rating based on field and/or test data accumulated over time.

There are other failure mechanisms that are prevalent in connectors, such as:

  • Fretting Corrosion
  • Stress Relaxation
  • Data Bit Loss
  • Plastic Degradation Mechanisms
  • Signal Integrity Issues

Although plating selection plays a part in those issues, there are other factors and dynamics which tend to dominate and thus are beyond the scope of this work.