For years, electroplating has remained to be a popular finishing technique used in several industrial applications. Ever since the expansion of electrochemistry, commercial plating of zinc, tin, and nickel are being implemented for specific engineering and manufacturing applications too. But what exactly is this process and how does it work? What difference does plating make and should you consider using professional services?
Let’s find out more about this wonderful process- unravelling the answer to every question in a systematic way.
Know More About Electroplating
Electroplating, also referred as electrodeposition is a chemical process in which thin metallic layer gets deposited onto the surface of an object, which is called as the substrate. Electric current is primarily used for the process.
Here is an example to help you understand that this process better:
Assuming that a layer of silver should be deposited on an object for enhancing its appeal- the electroplating or silver coating is fixed to the anode, while the object is attached to the cathode. Then, these two get immersed together in electrolytic solution. At this particular point, DC current is applied onto anode due to which metal atoms oxidize in silver and it gets dissolved into the solution. These dissolved ions get reduced at the cathode and are plated on the object. There are certain factors that influence the final outcome of the process and these are:
- The voltage of electric current
- The temperature and chemical composition of the electrolytic solution
- The time and length for which electric current was applied
- The overall distance from anode to cathode
The Important Uses and Application of Electroplating
This technique is used across a diverse range of fields because of the benefits that it has to offer. Some of the amazing applications include:
- Reduce Friction and Protective Barrier: There are several industrial plating that provides a barrier on the surface of the plated object and this protects it from the atmospheric conditions like corrosion. While on the other hand, specialized electroplating services such as nickel plating can decrease friction build-up on electrical and mechanical components too.
- Absorbs Energy and Light: There are specific forms of plating that can absorb energy and light. This is essential to several manufacturing processes in industries like aerospace, automotive and aviation.
- Prevents Tarnishing and Increases Thickness: Plating also offers protection against premature tarnishing in certain metals and also reduces the chances of scratching. Similarly, palladium plating is a common pick of manufacturers that need extreme thickness. This improves quality and enhances the longevity of the plated object too.
- Promotes Adhesion of Objects: There is an innovative concept in which one metal is plated as the undercoat and another metal is applied on the top of it. In most of the cases, copper acts as a great undercoat and this increases adhesion of the object too.
What Are the Different Metals Used for Electroplating?
There are many metals used for the process of electroplating and some of them that are commonly used in electrical, automotive and manufacturing applications are:
- Nickel Plating: Nickel is a slivery-white metal that features decorative and functional advantages. Some of the common forms of Ni plating are sulfamate (required for applications that demand strength and less stress) and sulphate (for brightening the surface).
- Copper Plating: Copper plating is an invaluable process that has found its importance across every industry including electronic components and parts to defence and aerospace industries too. It is primarily used on non-metallic or plastic surfaces.
- Gold Plating: Gold plating is great for creating fine jewellery with a gleaming finish. Coming to the function, electroplating of gold offers strong resistance against corrosion, protection from heat and exceptional electrical conductivity too.
However, to harness the true potential of plating make sure that you count on a certified company that specializes in this process and can offer the quality that you always desired of.