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What’s PVD? September 4, 2007

Posted by hipster in Lavatory Faucets, Style.

What is PVD?  What does it stand for? What does it mean?  Do you even want it?  These are the questions I am being asked, so I am obliged to answer.

PVD has a lot of different definitions. I have heard “Particle Vapor Distribution,” “Particle Vapor Deposition,” “Physical Vapor Deposition” and several others as well.  Whatever it’s called, it’s effective, and PVD finishes are unlikely to be scratched or blemished. So the question is, “how does this process differ from the typical finishing process?”  The answer is very very very subtle, about the size of a molecule.

Normally when a product is finished, it is coated in a conductive liquid, hung on a conductive bar and dipped in a bath.  The product is charged with electricity and an ionic bond is formed between the liquid and the product. In other words, dip it and forget it.

PVD on the other hand works on much of the same principle, but instead of a chemical bath products are set in a chamber and given the same charge.  A vacuum in the chamber is created and a bar of finish is placed in the chamber.  This bar is blown up and its particles hover in the chamber and are affixed to the product.  This forms a molecular bond, which is much stronger.  Where a bath will cause a rush of molecules to bond, the PVD process causes one molecule at a time to bond to the product.

So what are the end results of the PVD process?  A finish that will last longer than a finish that went through the bath process.  One of the drawbacks of this process is it takes a lot of energy and time.  These are two things that manufacturers don’t often have.  Usually you will find PVD in chrome and brass only.

Chrome and brass are easy metals to finish with as they are so responsive to bonding.  If you are looking for a sturdy finish on a bathroom faucet, I would recommend Newport Brass, or Danze.  Newport Brass is a leading manufacturer that specializes in obscure and hard to find finishes.  They do all their work custom, and they have several PVD options.

Until next time.


1. RAJA - December 17, 2008


2. Nicole - September 9, 2009

Are the PVD finishes as durable and easy to clean as the tried-and-true chrome fixtures?

3. Bill - May 17, 2011

Can I get existing fixtures pvd treated?

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