Using bronze, brass, or gold in your design? Think PVD.
Using a PVD finish on stainless steel opens up a world of options
Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) coatings are an innovation in the creation of coloured stainless steel making the surface significantly harder and more durable in the process. It is commonly used in the architectural and interior design industry to add colour to stainless steel and help extend the life of a number of different architectural products. Using a PVD finish on stainless steel enables architects and designers to confidently use Brass, Bronze, Black and Copper finishes internally and externally without the worry of the finishes tarnishing over time. Unlike some other secondary finishes, PVD actually enhances the raw material finish and brings the finish to life.
The PVD processes are carried out in a high vacuum with temperatures ranging between 150°C and 500°C and are environmentally friendly.
The PVD process consists of three fundamental steps:
- Vaporisation: this is the process where a high energy source bombards a target and dislodges atoms from its surface, vaporising them.
- Transportation: this involves the movement of the vaporised atoms from the target to the subject piece being coated.
- Condensation: this is the final stage of the process where the vaporised atoms bond to the subject’s surface, and they can even penetrate the surface slightly, to give a lasting level of adhesion.
The PVD process is becoming more common in the architectural and interior design industry due to architects and designers wanting new and innovative finishes to products. PVD coated products such as metal meshes and perforated sheets are fine to be used externally and will not wear, scratch or corrode. By using PVD you are able to mimic more expensive materials such as bronze, brass and gold.
The benefits of PVD include:
- Wear and scratch resistance.
- Corrosion resistance.
- Can be 100% recycled as stainless steel.
- Wide range of color options with custom matches possible.
- Color will never tarnish or patina.
Another huge benefit of PVD finishes is that it can be applied post-manufacture of a fully fabricated item which results in cost savings when compared to using expensive materials such as brass, bronze and copper. PVD is also popular as other architectural items on a project such as taps, handles, light fittings and many more products can have the same finish applied meaning that the project has a colour consistency throughout.
An example of the full fabricated item bein finished post-manufacture is the the Pizzeria Campanile project in Japan. This project utilised a M22-28 Banker Wire mesh in stainless steel and was welded to a special rolled box section frame, which was then finished to a PVD Copper finish. The fixtures and fittings for this lighting element and other elements throughout the project were also finished in the same finish.
Article Written by:
Jonathan Reed, Director