Arc metallization – how to cover materials with metal

Metal and thermal spraying are technologies, that enabled protection and extended life spans to wide variety of products in hostile environments. Metal coatings are used as an aesthetic factor, but more importantly can be vital for longevity of materials such as plastic. Metal spraying is crucial to a wide range of industries that need anti-corrosion properties in their machinery. Companies that deal with oil and gas, or work in construction, petrochemical and marine industries will surely appreciate the use of metallization, as corrosion is such a common problem for them.

But what arc metallization actually is and why is it necessary to cover materials with metal instead of just working with pure metal elements?

What is arc metallization?

Arc spraying or arc metallization is a variety of thermal spraying, a method of applying a layer of metal to different surfaces. The source of power here is an electric arc, although there actually are three different electric arc methods for metallization. In first of them, spraying with an electric arc using a spray gun, two wires, compose of metallic coating material and carrying DC electric current, touch together at their tips releasing energy. The energy then heats the wire, melting it and a stream of gas disperses the molten metal evenly onto the surface, creating a metal coat. Other methods include spraying with an internal plasma arc and spraying with a portable plasma arc.


The metal coat created by arc spraying tends to be quite porous and rough, but it also has its advantages. The process of arc metallization is not actually difficult and it requires minimal training, but with proper qualifications and experience, specialists can achieve good results in a short period of time. Moreover, rightly applied coating is not very thick and lasts long. The biggest advantage, however, is that arc spraying allows you to apply metal coats to specific areas of components.

This one is especially useful when working with complex or oddly shaped components, such as pipes and other bended components.

Why should you cover materials with metal?

Metallization is a process done for both aesthetic and mechanical purposes. Visually, a metal coated piece of equipment looks much more sophisticated and professional and it holds up a little bit better than unprotected surfaces. Moreover, metallization helps to protect surfaces from abrasion and gives them electric conductivity properties that weren’t there before. There are two main categories of metallised coatings: finishing coatings, which serve anti-corrosion and decorative purposes, and engineering coatings that are done for war resistance and as thermal barriers.

Who uses arc metallization?

Industries that deal with oil and gas, corrosion inducing substances or work in construction, petrochemical and marine industries will be the main focus of companies specialising in arc metallization. However, it is also used in civil infrastructure such as bridges, footbridges and overpasses, for covering pipelines and containers, exhaust and air ducts and power boilers.