Six Benefits of a Gold Plating for PCBs

Posted by Staff - Soldertraining on Apr 16th 2022

Gold plating kit is frequently used for printed circuits boards (PCBs). Since gold has strong conductivity, good oxidation resistance, and long life, it is highly useful for the surface treatment of PCB boards. The gold plating process involves depositing a thin layer of gold onto another metal through chemical or electrochemical plating. This thin layer of gold is typically in the 0.25 – 5 micron range (0.00001"-0.0002"). The gold is not directly electroplated on the copper surface of the circuit board. A nickel layer is electroplated first, and then the gold is plated over the nickel surface. The adhesion between the PCB and the layer is firm, thus increasing the board's durability.

There are various benefits of use gold as the surface finish on your PCB.Using the BEST Gold Replating Kit you can effectively replated various areas of a PCB or a component. BEST can provide the hands-on training to help you learn this PCB repair technique in which gold fingers, components and other PCB elements can be replated.

Corrosion Resistance: Gold is one of the least reactive elements. It does not react with oxygen and tends to preserve its properties for a longer period than silver or copper. Gold is highly stable as a corrosion-resistant coating. It is benign in all-natural and industrial environments. Parts that have a gold coating are replaced less frequently. Thus it has a much longer lifespan.

Conductivity: Gold is widely used as a contact metal in electronics. It is a good conductor of both heat and electricity. Gold's thermal conductivity is 310 W m-1 K-1, and its electrical resistivity is 0.022 micro-ohm m at 20 °C at the same temperature. Since it can retain its conductivity in diverse environments, it is considered an ideal conductor. Gold's anti-oxidation properties prevent the formation of surface oxides. Gold also produces a smooth finish, enabling a solid connection with the mated surface.

Durability: Gold provides excellent resistance against normal wear and tear. It is a highly durable metal that tends to spread out instead of wearing off.

Excellent heat protection: Gold has a high melting point of 1947°F. Thus it can withstand high temperatures without losing its properties. Gold offers enhanced protection against damage due to excessive heat for electrical products with routine exposure to elevated temperatures.

Ease of coating application: When electroplating any metal onto electrical contacts, it is crucial to ensure that you are applying a thin coating. Thick coatings can impact the product’s performance. Since gold is highly malleable, it is easy to prepare a very thin coating to apply on the surface. A thin layer of gold coating also helps to significantly reduce the costs.

No fretting degradation: Fretting corrosion refers to the material deterioration occurring at the interface of two contacting surfaces. Small oscillatory movements may arise between them when exposed to corrosive media. Gold is not susceptible to fretting. Thus it will not suffer wearing over extended periods due to friction or rubbing.

To Conclude:

You must ensure the thickness is appropriate for the specific PCB during gold plating. The use of controlled and optimized standardized processes is crucial to get the best results. It will help enhance the product's durability and performance.