Electroplating is an electrochemical process for the processing of metal products. It includes: product preparation, electrolyte, two electrodes and electric current.
Electrolyte is a conductive liquid substance formed by the passage of electric current through it resulting in metal molecules appearing, depositing a thin film on the product surface.
Electroplating is formed not only by applying a metal layer to the surface to be treated, but also as a result of the penetration of its molecules into the surface of the product layer.
Electroplating is a reliable way to protect a metal product.
The electroplating process can be separated into several main steps:
- preparation of an electrolytic solution, the composition is selected each time for a specific case;
- immersing the two anodes in an electrolyte solution connected to the positive terminal of the direct current source;
- immersion in a solution for galvanizing the workpiece, placing it between the anodes and connecting the power source to the negative pole (thus, the workpiece will act as a cathode);
- short circuit of the electrical circuit.
The galvanic processes that begin in such an electric circuit consist in the fact that positively charged particles of the deposited metal contained in the electrolyte solution under the influence of an electric current begin to tend to the negatively charged cathode product, settle on their surface and form a thin metal film.
Why use electroplating?
With the help of electroplating, chromium plating can be applied, for this you need to cover the treated surface with a layer of nickel. Usually, it is used because of its protective and decorative effect on parts. Also, with the help of electroplating, galvanizing of black metal is carried out – a zinc layer appears, which is resistant to corrosion.
Metal products processed using this technology can be used for a very long time in conditions of high humidity, and be in constant contact with fresh and salt water without losing their original properties.
With the use of galvanizing, mainly pipes, containers, roofing elements, building and supporting structures are processed. Thanks to galvanizing, the metal receives not only a barrier, but also an electrochemical protection.
If galvanizing only increases the corrosion resistance of the metal – electroplating with chromium not only solves this important problem, but also makes the surface of the part more durable and resistant and also increases its decorative appeal. Nickel plating also serves the same purpose.
Electroplating various metals requires the use of suitable equipment and materials.
Electroplating equipment is used for chrome plating, zinc plating.
The only differences in the performance of such processes will be in the composition of the electrolyte used, its temperature and other processing conditions.
Equipment used for this process:
- galvanic baths where an electrolytic solution is poured, anodes and workpieces are placed;
- a constant current source, it has an output voltage regulator;
- a heating device with which the electrolytic solution is brought to the required operating temperature.