Electroplating is the process of applying metal coating on metallic or non metallic surface through electro chemical process. It is passing the electric current into the metal through the aqueous solution of metal to be deposited. The metal acts as anode whereas the part that is to be plated acts as cathode. It is also called electrodepositing as another metal is deposited by electrolysis. Different metal can be coated on the surface of metals depending upon the metal to be coated.
The electroplating process is a complex procedure and while there are several different techniques, this info-graphic may make the process a little easier to understand:
1. Disassembly –Taking apart a project with multiple attachments ensures an even coating on every nook and cranny as a result of attention to detail.
2. Stripped –– All particles are removed from the project. If they are not, blistering or flaking may occurring on the plate-layer, therefore this is an important part of the cleaning process
3. Polishing – This step refines and evens surfaces in preparation for electroplating.
4. Cleaning – Dipping the project in a cleaning solution and electrifying it cleanses it of any specs on the surface.
5. Set-Up – Connect the negative electrical lead of the rectifier to the substrate and place the positive lead directly in the plating solution, finally we are now ready to start electroplating.
6. Plate Bath – Dipping the project in the desired solution begins the plating possess, as a result the longer the object stays in the solution the thicker the layer of plating.
7. Post Treatment – In order to prevent tarnishing and improve resistance, an anti-tarnish or clear coat treatment may be used.
8. Waste Disposal – The electroplating process can create hazardous material. If processed correctly, this waste can be recycled back into the plating process.
The Purposes of Electroplating:
In addition to improving the appearance of the substrate, electroplating is used for multiple other purposes. A primary application is to improve the work piece's resistance to corrosion. The plated layer will often serve as a sacrificial coating, meaning it will dissolve prior to the base material. Other common uses of electroplating include:
1. Building the thickness of a metal surface
2. Increasing wear resistance
3. Improving electrical conductivity — such as when plating a copper layer onto an electrical component
4. Preparing surfaces for enhanced adhesion prior to painting or e-coating
5. Reducing friction
6. Protecting against surface abrasions
7. Improving surface uniformity
8. Improve appearance beauty
9. Special surface properties
10. Engineering or mechanical properties
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