Precious metal plating is an expensive process, especially because the standard method for improving corrosion is to increase the plating thickness. With self-assembled molecules (SAM’s), however, metal plating can be reduced significantly without losing corrosion protection. In addition to enhanced corrosion protection, SAM’s will also allow plated components to have increased conductivity.
Conductivity and Reduced Metal Thickness
Precious metal plated items, and in fact any plated item, experience increased resistivity because of uneven surfaces. This resistivity becomes even worse when the plating is thicker. Most manufacturers are forced to increase the thickness of the plating to stop corrosion, but this can decrease the performance of the item while increasing the cost of production. SAM’s addresses both of these issues. The molecular shield provided through SAM’s helps slow the corrosion process down and allows manufactures to use a thinner plating deposit.
When this happens, the conductivity of the plated item improves as well. This is because the plating is thinner and the molecular shield provides a more even surface that lowers resistance. Contact resistance due to uneven surfaces caused by thicker plating creates localized heating. With SAM’s, however, this problem is solved because the molecular shield fills the voids in any uneven surfaces of the plated component. The surface then becomes smoother, enhancing conductivity.