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Physical Vapor Deposition and Metals Finishing

One fascinating aspect of metals finishing is that a relatively mature and stagnant industry can still innovate with the introduction of new techniques and designs. Metals polishers can evolve traditional methods to produce superior and new finishes. Diamond Brite Metals, the country’s premier architectural and industrial metals polisher, is at the forefront of this innovation. Enter Physical Vapor Deposition or PVD. The remainder of this blog post will explore the recent introduction of PVD into the architectural and ornamental metals polishing sphere and how end-users can utilize PVD for their next project. Sit back and enjoy learning about how this relatively new procedure can revolutionize surface finishing for the architectural market.

What Is Physical Vapor Deposition (“pvd”)?

PVD is a chemical process, typically an end-process, where a thin film or laminate is applied to a piece of material. Chemicals, in their molecular form, are vaporized in processes known as Sputtering or Thermal Evaporation until the matter forms an alloy-like substance, which is deposited onto the material. The material can range from glass to plastic to stainless steel. The chemical process is substantially more complex than the broad strokes steps outlined here, but the principles highlight how the process generally occurs. Anyone exploring PVD finishes should understand the basic chemical tenets to comprehend the product they will ultimately receive.

The Result of PVD

When PVD is applied to the surface of material, colors can be introduced to alter the surface’s finish. The colorization of the surface does not mar the surface’s finish. When using stainless steel as a substrate, the colorization of the surface will not hide the underlying grain. For example, if a piece of stainless steel type 304L 11 GA x 48 x 96 sheet is used as a substrate but an angel hair or vibration pattern is applied prior to PVD, the colorization of the surface will not disrupt the random swirl pattern caused by the angel hair or vibration finish. In short, the sheet’s grain will remain intact.

Besides the option of a decorative finish, PVD increases a material’s durability, corrosion resistance, and scratch resistance through its acting like an alloy. For stainless steel, these increased attributes along with its aesthetic quality make it ideal for architectural projects.

PVD and the Architectural Market

PVD is already being used in today’s architectural markets. One of the world’s newest architectural wonders, The Vessel, in New York City’s Hudson Yards is a by-product of PVD. The aesthetics and durability of The Vessel make it one of the city’s newest attractions. But, PVD is not exclusive for architectural structures that hope to become city landmarks. PVD should be part of an architect’s repertoire when deciding upon surface finish for a project. Combined with superior metals polishing, PVD can product an aesthetically superior and durable surface finish.

Diamond Brite Metals, the country’s premier architectural and industrial metals polisher, can offer PVD in conjunction with its proprietary surface finishes. For an inquiries or to submit an RFQ, please contact our Inside Sales Team at Feel free to visit our website at

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