Chrome plating is one of the most demanded production processes, oriented both to industrial and domestic needs. As the name implies, the essence of this process is the application of a chromium coating to the surface of a metal product using physical and chemical processes.
As an illustrative example of chrome plating, one can cite various external parts of motorcycles and cars, as well as furniture fittings, which gives it the usual “metallic sheen”.
But chrome plating solves not only decorative tasks. Also, with its help, the properties of the surfaces of products are improved - they become much more durable, wear-resistant and heat-resistant. Associated with this is the active use of chromium plating in engines and other components of equipment where there is friction or use in conditions of high (up to 800 ° C) temperatures. In addition, chrome plating can be used to restore damaged or corroded surfaces.
There are two main methods of chrome plating of metal products:
Chemical (sputtering method) - in this case, chrome plating is carried out similarly to applying paint. It is usually used for decorative chrome plating, since it is impossible to achieve significant coating strength by this method.
Galvanic - carried out by an electrochemical method in a galvanic bath. This is a method of applying coatings of the greatest thickness, it is mainly used to improve the mechanical properties of the surface.
The process of chemical chromium plating is generally simple and is carried out with the help of ready-made equipment supplied (special spraying installations) and depends largely on the actions of the operator. The chemicals used for chrome plating directly affect the quality of the coating, but they are also purchased and the manufacturer is responsible for their quality.
If we are talking about galvanic chromium plating, which is usually used in industry, then many parameters affect the course of work and, compared to chemical, chromium plating is more complicated and has a higher cost. But the coating obtained by this method will be much stronger and more reliable. Let's consider this process in more detail.
Similar to the electrolytic deposition of any other material, chromium plating consists of several stages:
Surface cleaning - cleaning the surface of the product from coarse dirt and dust.
Surface preparation. Chemical cleaning of the surface is carried out to remove oxide films and fatty contaminants;
Direct chrome plating. The stage includes immersing the product in a galvanic bath with an appropriate electrolyte solution and supplying current with certain parameters for a specified time.