Beryllium Copper Plating

Beryllium Copper is a highly ductile material which can be stamped and formed into very complex shapes with very close tolerances. This malleability provides extreme precision for critically small parts. It can also be heat-treated to form a tremendously strong and durable metal beryllium-copper substrate. Heat-treated beryllium-copper also provides excellent dimensional stability, fatigue resistance and corrosion resistance. Furthermore, beryllium-copper exhibits mechanical properties similar to high-strength steels. Additionally, a beryllium-copper substrate does not form oxides until reaching extremely high temperatures.

Beryllium-Copper Substrate Plating with Gold

Electrodeposition on beryllium-copper can be a complex task. There are several steps that must be completed with complete precision for the beryllium copper plating process to be effective. Due to its excellent electrical conductivity and ease of use, gold is often utilized to plate beryllium copper. Gold plated beryllium copper is often used in high reliability applications where a heat treating step is employed. The following steps are considered a general guideline for the beryllium copper plating process:

  1. Provide a copper-rich surface on the beryllium-copper substrate
  2. Electroplate the copper-rich surface with a diffusion barrier preplate
  3. Provide heat treatment to the beryllium copper material to a desired temper
  4. Electroplate the material with a high electrically conductive material such as gold

The process of utilizing a gold plating on beryllium provides a void-free, durable gold plated surface, which can be produced by a continuous automated strip plating line before and after heat treatment.

Beryllium-Copper Nickel Plating

When gold is applied to a copper  rich surface such as beryllium copper, metal ions from these base metals will diffuse into the gold layer and degrade its hardness and non-oxidizing properties. An anti-diffusion underplate such as nickel (electroless or sulfamate) should be applied to prevent this.

In addition, it is recommended that a beryllium-copper nickel plating finish be used under the gold plating where part flexure or deformation is not expected, and a bright finish is desirable. Where part flexure or deformation is expected, it is recommended that sulfamate nickel as the underplate be used since it has a higher ductility.

Proven Applicable Benefits of Beryllium-Copper Substrate Plating

Plating on beryllium provides significant metal working advantages, making it an obvious choice for many challenging applications. When utilizing beryllium-copper as a substrate the end user receives the benefits of the substrate as well as the material that is used to plate the beryllium copper. Some of the advanced benefits of beryllium copper plating, include:

  • High machinability
  • Formable & elastic qualities
  • High thermal conductivity
  • High electrical conductivity
  • High strength after proper precipitation hardening
  • Absorbs extreme heat
  • Non-magnetic
  • Non-sparking

Beryllium-Copper Substrate Finishing Applications

Copper beryllium plating provides a unique combination of strength, conductivity, hardness and corrosion resistance. It is also non-magnetic and non-sparking. As a result, it provides many advantages in demanding end-use applications that operate in harsh environments, including military, aerospace, medical, commercial and aviation industries. Some of the other plating on beryllium copper applications, include:

  • Electronic connectors
  • Computer components
  • Telecommunications
  • Small springs
  • Load cells
  • Tools

Beryllium Copper Plating Specifications

Our beryllium-copper substrate plating services meet various Mil-Spec standards. The constant monitoring and frequent testing of our chemistries helps us maintain optimum quality. Some of the other applicable specifications for plating on beryllium copper, include:

  • MIL-C-14550
  • ASTM B734
  • AMS 2418
  • Most major OEM specification

Analytical Lab for Beryllium Copper Plating

ENS Technology is the only metal plating company in Northern California to maintain a fully equipped, on-site analytical laboratory. Our fully PhD-credentialed chief chemist oversees all lab operations, including plating bath chemistries, wastewater protocols, and the technical monitoring of our dedicated R&D plating line.

Quality Control Services for Beryllium-Copper Substrate Plating

Our electroless nickel plating quality control custom services for electrodeposition on beryllium-copper are handled by our highly trained technical specialists and production staff that provide expertise, leadership and high standards of excellence. ENS is committed to implementing business improvement processes. Our custom service electroless nickel plating quality control process provides the keys to continued improvement and overall customer satisfaction.

Contact ENS for Beryllium-Copper Substrate Plating Today

Contact us for more information regarding our electrodeposition on beryllium-copper services, or request a quote today for an in-depth price analysis.