Electroplating technology is a important process is various industries such as electronics, communications, military, and more. Electroplating is more than just a means of metal surface protection and decoration.

What is Electroplating?

Electroplating is the process of depositing a thin layer of metal matieral on metal substrate using electric current. It can improve the properties of metal parts such as wear resistance, conductivity, reflectivity, corrosion resistance, aesthetics and so on.

How does Electroplating work?

In the plating tank with electroplating solution, the part to be plated is used as cathode and the plating metal is considered as anode. They respectively connect to the positive and negative poles of the DC power supply.

The electroplating solution contains compounds of plating metals. After electricity is applied, the metal ions in the electroplating solution move to the cathode and form a coating on cathode due to the potential difference. The plating metal forms metal ions into the electroplating solution to maintain the amount of metal ions.

What Metals Can be Electroplated?

Usually, Aluminum, Steel, and Stainless Steel are the common parts of materials that are Electroplated in our life.

What Materials are used in Electroplating?

Materials commonly used for electroplating include nickel sulfate, nickel chloride, copper sulfate, and copper chloride. Nickel, copper, chromium, and zinc metal materials can also be used for electroplating.

Advantages of Electroplating

Enhances Appearance

Electroplating can forms a dense metal layer on the surface of metal parts, make the surface looks smooth and uniform with a more aesthetically appealing. for example, some metal parts with gold plating make it looks more lustrous.

Improve durability

Due to the strong adhesion of the electroplated layer, it is not easy to peeling off and aging, this will effectively extend the metal’s lifespan.

improve Corrosion and Wear Resistance

Electroplating creates a new chemical element on the surface of metal parts which could be corrosion and wear resistance. For instance, parts plated with chromium resist corrosion better and parts plated with nickel are more wear-resistant.

Low Manufacturing Costs

Compared to other surface treatment technologies, electroplating is cost-effective, easy to operate and has high production efficiency. it can only create thin layer of metal on the substract but can get the properties of the plating metal, this can reduce a lot the material cost.

improve conductivity

Metal parts Plated with silver can improve electrical conductivity, so Electroplating is widely used in the manufacturing of electronics and electrical components.

Disadvantages of Electroplating

  • Potential Environmental Pollution: Electroplating solutions contain a significant amount of organic solvents and metal compounds, which can Potentially cause environmental pollutions
  • High Energy Consumption: Electroplating process need a continuous power supply,this result in a high energy consumption.
  • Health Risks: Some organic substances and metal ions in the electroplating solution may casue health hazards.

types of Electroplating

Zinc Plating (Galvanization)

The zinc layer provides mechanical protection to the steel or iron substrate and also offers electrochemical protection. it is widely used in machinery, hardware, electronics, instruments, light industry, etc.,

Copper Plating

The copper coating can only provide mechanical protection to the base metal. usually, it is not used alone but as a intermediate layer to enhance the bond between the another plating and the base metal.

Nickel Plating

The nickel coating can provide mechanical protection to the base metal. It is widely applied in hardware, light industry, household appliances and machinery industries.

Chrome Plating

Chrome plating can provide a very good weather and scratch resitstance. therre are several types of chrome plating. For decorative chrome plating, the base layer is generally polished. It is widely used on exposed parts to a better Appearance. Hard chrome is mainly used on various measuring calipers, gauges, cutting tools, and various types of shafts to enhance their durability.

Tin Plating

Tin plating is mainly used in the canning industry as a protective layer for thin sheets, most forgeable tinplate is made of tin-plating steel sheets. Another primary application of tin plating is in the electronics and power industries.

Alloy Electroplating

In a solution, when two or more types of metal ions on the cathode, it aslo can form a uniform and refined plated layer, this process is called alloy electroplating. Alloy electroplating can provide better performances than single metal electroplating.

Tips for Electroplating

1.Plating a layer of nickel on the plated parts can effectively improve the welding performance of the plated parts.

2: Electroplating high-phosphorus nickel can greatly improve the salt spray performance of plated parts.

3: Use white bright nickel additives for the nickel solution. the plating layer will look good and not easy to turn yellow.

4: In zinc alloy electroplating, the use of ammonia can inhibit zinc ions in the zinc alloy cyanide copper bath.

5: For tin plated parts, passing through 1% hydrofluoric acid and then wash with water can remove the white fog on the surface.

6. When plating silver, if the plated part looks yellow, immediately put it into potassium cyanide solution and soak for 4 to 5 minutes, the part will turn to whtie.

FAQs about Electroplating

Yes, Electroplating is a process that uses electric current to move the plating metal ions to the parts to be plated and form the plating metal layer.

yes, the process is called electroless plating. it can deposit a light coating of metal without the use of electricity.


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