Many products we use primarily indoors or in a dry setting for decorative purposes where they are unlikely to suffer from corrosion. These kinds of items are decorated with a thin layer of gold or silver to make them appealing to the consumer. This layer is referred to as electroplating and renowned for the prevention of corrosion and rust. Electroplating is used most widely in automotive, aircraft, electronic, jewelry and toys industries.
Electroplating allows manufacturers to use cheap metals such as steel or zinc for the majority of the product and then add various external metals to ensure that the appearance, protection, and other characteristics of a product are taken into account. The surface can consist of a plastic or a metal.
What is Electroplating?
Electroplating is the mechanism by which an electro-deposition is applied to another piece of metal (or to another conductive surface) using an energy current. The deposited metal becomes part of the current product in electroplating by means of plating/coating.
Electroplating usually offers a more luxurious finish to cheaper metals and adds certain properties such as anti-corrosion and anti-rust.
For electroplating a metal, it needs to generate electric current with two different metals, an electrolyte solution, two electrodes and battery or other energy.
One metal becomes negatively charged once the electricity is turned on, and the other metal becomes positively charged. The positively charged metal molecules slowly move to the surface of the negatively charged metal for a certain period of time, which produces a very thin layer.
Benefits of Electroplating
Forms a Protective Barrier: A barrier on the substrate is created by several types of electroplating that protects it against atmospheric conditions such as corrosion. It can also enhance the heat resistance and if the underlying metal is brittle, make the piece stronger against impacts and shocks. It also increases the longevity of the metal.
Helps In Reducing Friction: A nickel plating can reduce the build-up of friction in certain materials such as electrical connectors. It makes the components slide more easily across adjacent surfaces, without heating or scraping. Nickel plating increases efficiency and decreases premature wear and tear.
Adds Properties to Metals: Since it is used in a wide range of industries, electroplating makes the metal more attractive. The right plating material can add these properties to make a component magnetic or more conductive to electricity. In manufacturing computers and electronics, this technique is also used. Usually, electroplating is used to renovate old parts of cars, such as bumpers, tire rims, and grills, making them appear absolutely stunning.
Enhances the metals’ thickness: In manufacturing processes where extreme thickness is required, electroplating is becoming an extremely common preference. The thicker the coating is the more durable and wear and tear resistant it is, meaning it can last longer. It enhances the overall consistency and improves the substrate’s durability.
Types of Electroplating Services
Copper plating : One of the best electrical conductors is copper. A coating of copper provides several materials with exceptional electrical conductivity.
An electrical current is used to deposit a coating of copper onto a base metal in the copper plating process. Copper wire dipped into an electrolyte (copper sulphate) acts as an anode and an electrolyte is dipped into an iron rod to be plated and externally attached as a cathode. Electricity flows through the circuit, and the metal deposits a coating of copper atoms.
Silver plating: It requires the layer being immersed into a silver ion bath. The ions deposit on the surface of the component after transferring electrons through the solution, covering it with the selected metal.
Some of the characteristic properties of silver plating are high thermal conductivity, high toughness, low contact electrical resistance, strong chemical resistance and anti-bacterial effects.
Gold plating: Gold Plating is a process by which chemical or electrochemical plating deposits a thin layer of gold onto the surface of another metal in the presence of electricity. Depending on how dense the plate is meant to be the metal remains submerged for a certain amount of time.
The best visual appeal and versatility make it the valuable item. Some of the characteristic properties of gold plating are corrosion resistance, heat protection, reflectivity, and wear resistance.
Rustic Patina: It is the decoloration of the surface of an object because of extended exposure (6 to 36 months) to atmospheric conditions, oxidization and various other chemical reactions. It gives items like chairs, railings, hotel interiors, partitions and artifacts an unsophisticated look. It gives a country look to every living place’s ambience.
Brass Plating: Usually, by deposition of brass from an electroplating bath, the coating is applied electrolytically. To protect items from corrosion, brass plating is used to provide strong bonds between steel and aluminum articles. Brass plating is a way of strengthening titanium and its alloys’ antifriction properties.