The Purpose of Electroplating

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Electroplating is the depositing of metal coatings to conductive surfaces by chemical processes that are driven by electric current. In an electrochemical cell, an object to be coated and a bar of coating metal serve as opposite electrodes in a chemical solution through which electric current is passed.

Functional Applications

  • Electroplating is used in many industries and has many applications. It is used principally to apply metal coatings that impart specific surface properties such as solderability, wear and abrasion resistance, reflectivity and conductivity. Electrowinning and electrorefining are important processes that extract metals from ores and remove impurities from metals, respectively. These processes enable the economical purification of expensive metals.

Decorative and Protective Applications

  • Decorative electroplated coatings are usually applied for the dual purpose of adding visual appeal and protective qualities to items. Chromium, nickel, brass, copper and precious metals such as gold, platinum and titanium are among the metals applied to a variety of items.

Corrosion Control Applications

  • Electroplating is used to apply metals that impart corrosion resistance and other enhanced properties to surfaces. Machine parts, hardware, automotive parts and many other items receive coatings of nickel, chromium and zinc.

References

  • Photo Credit vase with golden coating isolated on white image by Elnur from Fotolia.com
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