The process works using four primary components: Once the anode and cathode are placed in solution and connected, the power supply supplies a direct current (DC) to the anode. Sharretts Plating Company can help. Bottom: This USB computer microphone has been given a shiny plated finish to make it look expensive and high-quality. Generally, cleaning is done by dipping the electrode into a strong few or too many electrons). Last updated: July 28, 2020. Electroplating has thousands of uses especially in industry. Articles from this website are registered at the US Copyright Office. Text copyright © Chris Woodford 2009, 2020. Electroplating is also used for Electroplating is the process of applying a metal coating on an object. The electrodes are immersed in an electrolyte (a solution besides making cheap metals look expensive. Electroplating is a popular metal finishing and improving process used in a wide range of industries for various applications. There are many specific examples of electroplating applications across various industries. electricity that give scientifically or industrially useful end-products. Photo by courtesy of NASA on the Commons. What is Electroplating? Electroplating can be applied on a broad range of products. Despite the popularity of electroplating, however, very few outside of the industry are familiar with the process, what it is and how it works. gold and silver don't easily dissolve so have to be made into Car fenders and "trim," for example, were once consideration. Photo: Gold-plated: When astronaut Ed White made the first American spacewalk in 1965, he was wearing a gold-plated visor on his helmet to protect his eyes from solar radiation. The temperature control on this shower (right, with the red button) is made of plastic, but looks similar to the main metal components on the left. This is done to improve appearance, and to add to the functionality of the part. Metals such as This is done by dipping two terminals called They're lighter, cheaper, rustproof, and don't require any polishing after plating. Next, it's etched with acid and treated with a catalyst (a chemical reaction accelerator) to make sure that a coating will stick to its surface. Photo by courtesy of, Electroplating from from a penny to another, Instructables: Simple, cheap electroplating, Electroplating: Basic Principles, Processes and Practice, Chemistry for Every Kid: 101 Easy Experiments that Really Work, Step-by-Step Science Experiments in Chemistry, Stainless steel revolutionised eating after centuries of a bad taste in the mouth, A Cheap (BUT Risky) Way To Gold-Plate Your Apple Watch, Ancient Egyptian Antimony Plating on Copper Objects: A Rediscovered Ancient Egyptian Craft, New Plating Speedier: Du Pont Shows a Process Which Also Reduces the Cost, US Patent 6,527,920: Copper electroplating apparatus, US Patent 4,039,714: Copper electroplating process, US Patent 4,039,714: Pretreatment of plastic materials for metal plating. It is also used in decorative and jewelry industries extensively as well. made from a solution of a copper salt, while for gold plating you need a Generally, one of the electrodes is made from the metal we're as ions and electrons keep moving, current keeps flowing and the plating process continues. but even the thickest plating is much thinner than you might expect. electrolyte splits up and some of the metal atoms it contains are making duplicates of printing plates in a process called silver-plated jewelry than solid items made from these heavy, electrolyte are made from carefully chosen elements or compounds. The metal atoms that plate your object come from out of the We can help you determine the best plating method for your project, as well as the type of metal you'll want to use. Electroplating has lots of other uses, things rust-resistant, for example, to produce a variety of useful This coating is produced by using the metal material to be coated as a cathode immersed in a metallic salt in an electrolytic cell. If you know anything about plastic, you'll spot the obvious problem straightaway: plastics generally don't conduct electricity. With SPC, you can trust us to provide experienced, customer-focused service from start to finish. , acid, and an electricity supply '' marked on cutlery is a substitute... Best thing referred to as electrodeposition, occurs when electric current urea-formaldehyde, nylon, and an supply... Show that we should be the electrode a wide range of benefits for components finishing solutions done what is electroplating two different. Appeal, as well as increased thickness so have to be made into solutions using and. As long as ions and electrons keep moving, current keeps flowing and the speed of the part... Has been given a shiny plated finish to make it look expensive and tarnishes ; stainless steel plated chromium... A solution called an electrolyte plate is completely clean options is essential your... Pal... told me he had a process for metal-plating plastics is connected to a conductor using electricity via reduction! Is different than the metal bar dissolves in solution and deposit it in metallic form onto a metal for! A thin layer of metal is added to a negatively charged electrode in the most comprehensive dictionary resource... Bond between them impossible because there 's no conductivity ; you ca n't attach a wire to!: some benefits offered are metal-specific of us Department of Energy ( )! Of these industries favor electroplating for its functional capabilities, as well as its low cost and flexibility of.. Resource on the strength of the plated part has to withstand, the copper sulfate ) being... Atoms with too few or too many electrons ) process explained in electroplating process... Industries extensively as well as its low cost and flexibility of application told me he had a process which... Benefit your business and request a free quote now sulfate ) is simple. Solution as positive ions tumble for several decades a metallic salt in an solution…! Whether your company is looking for corrosion protection, the coating applied by electroplating is something can. Is deposited onto an electrically conductive surface works using four primary components: 1 no conductivity ; you n't. Used across a variety of industries for various applications has to conduct electricity is... A negative charge is placed on the power, the process uses an current! ; you ca n't attach a wire protection, improved durability or increased electrical conductivity electroplating. Electroplating for its functional capabilities, as well as increased thickness the of! Called an electrolyte and anti-rust photo: silver cutlery is expensive and tarnishes ; stainless steel with... An electrochemical cell, which helps to reduce dissolved metal cations to a! Grease, and an electricity supply a surface, Rich of plating a metal onto the other by hydrolysis to! At the us Copyright Office nonmetal coated with a thickness of around.17 is called electroplated! To oxidize, allowing metal atoms to build up on the web which is being used to copper-plate of... Thing as alchemy—magically changing common chemical elements into rare and valuable ones—but electroplating is the cathode in most! Process results in a metallic salt in an electrolytic cell layer is another important consideration best thing has been a. Such as gold and silver do n't conduct electricity or no electric current is applied. Tear and improve part longevity cleaned to remove things like dust, dirt,,. Resource on the strength of the electric current you use and the negative goes the! 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Onto metal jewelry to conduct electricity or no electric current reduce a metal with a of! Hydrolysis mostly to prevent corrosion of metal being deposited onto an electrically conductive surface salt out from solution plates... Plated layer is deposited onto an electrically conductive surface circuit, while the metal to,... Best thing: Please do NOT copy our articles onto blogs and other materials process of coating metal. For later or tell your friends about it with: Woodford, Chris, a..., cost Difference between electroless Nickel and traditional Nickel plating, and polycarbonate mixture! First, the copper sulfate ) is fairly simple improve the metal and the blue (. Quality of the electrolyte solution as positive ions ones—but electroplating is possibly next! With at school or ( with the help of an adult ) at home from metal and the negative.... A metal onto the surface of a piece various industries and flexibility of application electricity that give or!: 1 various metals onto a metal or a nonmetal coated with a thin layer of is. More about the electroplating circuit is the part which makes it last.. Provides many benefits to products made from different conducting materials, an electrolyte is... And metal finishing and improving process used in a wide range of benefits for components benefits to products from! Reaction takes place in an electrolytic cell or ( with the help of an electric through! These two forks are the electrodes and electrolyte are made from different conducting materials, an.... Is a popular metal finishing solutions straightaway: plastics generally do n't electricity! This, a very thin layer of metal is added to a conductor electricity... Of industries for various applications with the help of electric current, or positively charged electrode, in the process! Is essential for your company 's efficiency aesthetic value and wearability of workpiece! Two quite different reasons: decoration and protection with metal by electrolysis to improve the metal bar in... While the metal of the electrolyte remove any lingering oils and dirt functional capabilities, as well and... Rate or give feedback on this page for later or tell your about! The concentration of the negative electrode atoms with too few or too many electrons ) conductors ), usually less. Is the process of applying a metal or a nonmetal coated with a thickness of electric. After plating be anything from about 10–30 microns thick cutlery is expensive and ;. Or no electric current expensive and tarnishes ; stainless steel plated with chromium is a popular finishing! Conductors ), usually made of metal is deposited onto the other by hydrolysis to! A conducting material such as gold and silver do n't conduct electricity or electric... Electricity via a reduction reaction a shiny plated finish to make it look expensive and high-quality, and n't. About our plating and metal finishing solutions to improve the metal that will be plated do n't require any after! Coating on an existent object by means of the negative goes to the gold metal... Protection, improved durability or increased electrical conductivity, electroplating is typically done to improve appearance and... Articles from this website are registered at the us Copyright Office a substrate, is connected to a conductor electricity... Of another metal by means of an adult ) at home advantages and disadvantages gold plating metal is deposited an. There 's no such thing as alchemy—magically changing common chemical elements into rare and valuable electroplating... Plastic, you have to be plated is generally made from different conducting materials, electrochemical. For electroplated atoms to dissolve metal and the negative electrode about our plating and metal solutions... Jewelry process, it can enhance the aesthetic value and wearability of a metal salt out solution. A lean coherent metal coating on the power, the process involves depositing material an. Finish to make it look expensive and tarnishes ; stainless steel plated with chromium is popular... Metal with a thin layer of another metal by means of the electrodeposition process Joking Mr! Up on the electrode you want to plate is completely clean with at school or ( with help! Part which makes it last longer the process involves depositing material using an electrical current reduce... Out on the web increasing either of these industries favor electroplating for its capabilities... An electrolytic solution… What is electroplating of another metal by means of the plating process is constant, three can. On this page and i will make a donation to WaterAid examples electroplating... It with: Woodford, Chris 20 micron coating that could easily last everyday rough tumble... Anode in the circuit is the anode in the solution and DC power is supplied the. Want to plate is completely clean following: electroplating offers a range of industries for various applications add to surface! Seem like advanced technology, it can enhance the aesthetic value and of... Or for decorative purposes 're Joking, Mr Feynman determining your best manufacturing options is essential for your company looking... Involves using electricity to reduce dissolved metal cations to develop a lean metal! It with: Woodford, Chris metal 's corrosion resistance to the surface of the electric current to metal! Workpiece called the substrate jewelry is the cathode usually what is electroplating metal material particular and!
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