Aerospace, Automotive, and Military Metal Finishing Specifications

With all the different variations and groupings of numbers and letters, keeping track of what exactly each metal plating specification means can be tricky. Here’s a small sampling of some of the more common specifications we plate to, and what they mean. From the automobile industry to the military, read through the list to learn a little bit more about what Great Lakes Metal Finishing is doing to provide you with next level protection.

metal plating for the aerospace industrial applications

Specifications for the Aerospace Industry

AMS2417J: covers the different requirements and procedures for the electroplating and deposit of a zinc-nickel alloy. Zinc-nickel finishing is generally and most commonly used to provide protection against corrosion on steel parts operating in elevated temperatures, such as planes.

AMS2700B: defines and outlines the engineering requirements for a process dealing with the complete removal of any free contaminants (such as iron) from the surfaces of corrosion resistant steel parts, otherwise known as passivation. This process is most commonly used for removing metallic contaminants by using chemical oxidizers, preventing damages to the base metal.

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metal plating for the automobile manufacturing industry

Finishing Specifications for the Automotive Industry


WSA-M1P87: defines performance requirements and standards for alloy coatings of zinc/nickel electroplated on ferrous surfaces from alkaline baths, where corrosion protection treatment is needed and applied. In other words, zinc-nickel plating is being used to protect against corrosion on iron based surfaces.

WSD-M1P85-A1/A3: defines performance requirements and standards for the electrolytic (also called electroplating) or non-electrolytic deposition of zinc coatings.


GMW3044M: defines and outlines the basic requirements for electroplated zinc applied to fasteners, clips, and small/medium sized ferrous parts (ex: castings and stampings). It also covers plating thickness, mechanical plating, and when to use or not to use supplementary treatments and corrosion. The use of this specification is designed for post-supplementary treatment, which was initially evaluated for chemical/applicator approval.

To use this specification for plating other parts, such as roll-formed parts, must first be reviewed and approved by the engineering organization responsible for said materials.


MFZN 2 B, C, & K: covers the requirements, procedures, and precautions for zinc-iron plating. The different ending letters all mean different colors. B represents zinc silver trivalent passivation, C represents clear trivalent passivation, and K represents black trivalent passivation.

metal plating for military applications

Finishing Specifications for the Military

The Navy

MIL-DTL-5541F: covers chemical conversion coatings (part of the metal’s surface is converted into a coating by a chemical or electro-chemical process) formed by chemical conversion materials reacting with aluminum/aluminum alloy surfaces. These coatings form a uniform and constant protective coating for the surface.

The Army

MIL-STD-171E: defines, outlines, and updates general finish codes and acts as a general guide to the selection of materials, procedures, and system suitable for cleaning, plating, painting, and finishing of metal and wood surfaces.

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specifications for the american society for testing and materials

Specifications for American Society for Testing and Materials

A380A380M – 13: defines and outlines the standard practice, recommendations, and any precautions for cleaning, descaling, and passivation of stainless steel parts, equipment, assemblies, and systems.

ASTM B850: covers the standard practice, recommendations, and any precautions for post-coating treatments of steel, in order to reduce the risk of hydrogen embrittlement that may occur during finishing. Hydrogen embrittlement is the process hydrogen being diffused into the metal and causing the steel to become brittle and fracture.

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After scrolling through a sample of these metal specifications, the most important thing to remember is, companies that abide by these rules and regulations are giving you top quality products and next level protection. If you are looking for a metal finishing company to provide you with these desired specifications we look forward to working with you. Along with the specifications outlined here, we abide by numerous others.

Interested in learning more about these finishing specifications and others?

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