Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) coats surfaces for such everyday items as the lights for vehicles and homes, product packages, appliances, and solar panels. The examples of PVD are all around. Yet, many don’t know how this works, or why they’d want the service. So here’s all you should know about PVD.

How Does PVD Work?
PVD adds a protective coating to hard products by using a process that relies on a physical reaction instead of a chemical one. A pure source of something like titanium nitrate is used. In the PVD process, this source is evaporated with an electron beam in the first step. Then, gas is pumped into a chamber containing the object (or substrate) that is being coated. The source that has been evaporated is attracted to the substrate. In the end, it settles on the substrate, effectively coating the material with no added chemicals.

Why Use PVD?
PVD technology is used to prevent wear and tear, corrosion, high friction, melting and chipping. As a result, the owner of coated products benefit from longer-lasting tools and parts. Titanium nitride (NiT) is the general purpose protective coating. Aluminum titanium nitride (AlTiN) is used for extra protection, making things harder and more resistant to extreme temperature. Aluminum titanium chromium carbonitride coatings are ideal for weapons or other projectiles. Those are just three possible protective coatings that can be applied using PVD. Along with protection, some coatings are added for color and decorative purposes. Zirconium nitride can be used on substrates more sensitive to temperature and leaves a light gold color.

Is PVD the Only Option?
One alternative to PVD is chemical vapor deposition (CVD). CVD uses a chemical reaction to get its result. The substrate is placed in a container, a mixture of the source material and a carrying agent is added, the material sticks to the substrate and the waste is removed as gas. CVD usually results in thicker coats that are easier to crack and chip. PVD comes out thinner and a bit stronger. Another benefit to PVD is that the method of coating leads to a more controlled and smoother finish.

PVD is a cutting edge option for protecting the form and longevity of a variety of products.

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