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What Is Metal Plating?

Views: 1     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-07-01      Origin: Site

Metal plating is the process of applying a thin layer of metal plating to the surface of a metal instrument, product or component. The process of metal plating includes electroplating, which uses an electric current to deposit metal ions on the surface of a substrate.

Electroless plating can coat metal ions on a work-piece without using any electrodes. Although this process has many advantages, its main purpose is still to improve the corrosion resistance of metals.

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Metal plating not only protects a part or assembly from potential damage from environmental elements, it also improves the appearance of the part. Different types of coatings are divided into industrial and commercial coatings based on the main application.

Commercial decorative coatings are used on everyday items to improve their appearance and strength. Most commercial paints are used on certain tools, silverware, and jewelry. Industrial coatings are widely used on metal components to improve their durability and wear resistance, allowing them to withstand harsh environments. This helps protect and strengthen machine components and truck components.

Coatings also increase the weld-ability and strength of the metal and reduce rub, thereby reducing the potential for wear. By applying a coating to a metal, the conductivity of the metal changes, which means its ability to conduct electrical current changes accordingly. Coated metals can be electroplated to improve their magnetic properties.

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Metal Plating Processes

Electroplating is a process that uses electrode position to coat parts with a thin layer of metal. Engineers use controlled electrolysis to transfer the desired metal coating from the anode (the part that contains the metal, which will be used as electroplating) to the cathode (the part that will be electroplated). Both the cathode and the anode are immersed in a chemical bath of electrolyte and an electric charge is applied continuously.

The current moves negatively charged ions (anions) to the anode and positively charged ions (cations) to the cathode, forming a thin layer around the desired workpiece or completing electroplating in a uniform metal coating. The substrate material is encapsulated in a thin metal shell such as copper or nickel by a process of electroplating.

The electroplating process is most commonly used on other metals based on the basic requirement that the substrate must be a conductive material. There are also less common autocatalytic precoating processes that have been developed that produce ultrathin conductive interfaces that allow dissimilar metals (most notably nickel and copper alloys) to be plated on plastic parts.


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