Chrome plating

Chrome plating is a surface treatment process in which metal parts have a metallic surface coating of first, nickel and then chrome applied to them.

The coatings are deposited in aqueous solutions (electrolytes) of nickel or chromium salts, respectively, as the metal ions are reduced to a metallic coating on the workpiece surface by means of an external power source.

This coating is also called decorative chrome plating, as it gives the workpiece a highly decorative exterior and appears almost mirror-like if the base has received the correct processing.
Chrome plating is a coating system in which the nickel coating makes up the bulk of the layer thickness. The chrome plating is deposited in very small thicknesses, usually 0.3-1 µm, so that the nickel surface of the coating is covered, and a bright, polished metal-glossy and decorative surface is achieved.

The surface treatment can be applied to many kinds of workpieces and is used in, for instance, the furniture industry and the electronics industry. Chrome plating is typically carried out on workpieces made of, among other things, steel, brass and copper.

Read more about other types of surface treatment.

Types of chrome plating

Hard chrome is used specifically for surfaces that are to be wear resistant and corrosion-protected – including, among others, cylinders, shafts, rollers, tools and machine parts for the food industry. In contrast to the other two types of chrome plating, the coating can be performed in very thick layers of between 10 to 1000 g, which gives a good abrasion resistance for many purposes. In addition, it also provides good corrosion protection in many environments.

Glossy chrome is the most decorative form of these three. Glossy chrome is used as a decorative kind of chrome plating, typically used in, for example, fittings and chair legs. Here, thicknesses of over 0.25 – 1μ are rare. The coating almost always has a thicker gloss nickel coating as a base.

Black chrome is rarely used and is characterised by a uniform deep black decorative coating. This type is often used because of its technical nature, for instance, for optical equipment such as light-absorbing surfaces. Black chrome plated surfaces are mainly composed of chromium oxides.

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