Finishing: Plating

What is Plating?

A plating tank is actively applying gold surfaces to jewelry underneath the blue liquid.

Plating is a finishing process used to coat an object with a thin layer of metal using a chemical solution. The plating process is used to provide many benefits such as improved appearance, corrosion resistance, improved paint adhesion, and increased strength and durability. There are multiple plating techniques including electroplating and electroless plating.

 

Electroplating Vs. Electroless plating

The electroplating process uses an electrical current along with a chemical solution to produce a metal coating. The positively charged anode (the metal) is placed into the solution along with the negatively charged cathode (the part). A current is then applied causing small pieces of metal from the anode to travel through the solution and attach to the cathode, producing a thin layer. This process may have to be repeated in order to provide the desired thickness.

Chrome-plated drum of the washing machineElectroless plating, also known as chemical or auto-catalytic plating, uses anti-oxidation chemicals instead of an electrical current. This process does not require any extra equipment and allows more control. Nickel is commonly used in the electroless plating process.