Chrome is a popular surface coating method for metal parts, as it gives them shine and corrosion resistance.There are several ways to chrome the metal, each with its advantages and disadvantages.In this article, we will explore the different methods of chrome and their applications.
- Electrolytic chrome
Electrolytic chrome is the most common method of metal chrome.This technique uses an electrolytic bath to deposit a thin layer of chrome on the metal surface.Hexavalent chrome (Cr6+) is the main constituent of the electrolytic chrome solution, which is a highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical.Trivalent chromium (Cr3+) is also used in electrolytic chromium, as it is less toxic than hexavalent chromium.This method of chrome plating is used to improve corrosion resistance, for decorative appearance and to improve the hardness of the surface.
Electrolytic chrome can be applied to various metals, such as steel, brass, aluminum, zinc and copper.The technique is used for industrial and commercial applications, such as automotive parts, faucets, household appliances, jewellery and watches.This method is also used in the aeronautical, military and medical industry for the manufacture of critical components.
The electrolytic chrome process begins with cleaning the metal surface to remove contaminants, such as oils, greases and oxides.Then the piece is placed in an electrolytic bath containing a hexavalent or trivalent chromium solution.An electric current is applied to the room and solution to deposit a layer of chrome on the surface of the room.
The quality of the chrome depends on the quality of the metal surface and the quality of the chrome solution.The quality of the metal surface must be good enough to ensure a solid adhesion of the chrome coating.The quality of the chrome solution depends on the concentration of chrome hexavalent or trivalent, the temperature of the solution and the electric current applied.
The electrolytic chrome offers many advantages, such as corrosion resistance, hardness of the surface, wear resistance and decorative look.However, this chrome-plate method also presents disadvantages, such as high costs, health risks associated with the use of hazardous chemicals and the production of toxic waste.
Hexavalent chromium is a very toxic and carcinogenic chemical that must be handled with special precautions.Workers who handle hexavalent chromium are exposed to health risks, such as skin irritations, respiratory problems and cancers.To reduce health risks, it is important to take appropriate preventive measures, such as the use of individual protective equipment, adequate ventilation and proper management of toxic waste.
- Chemical chrome
Chemical chrome is a more ecological alternative to electrolytic chrome.This method uses special chemical solutions to deposit a thin layer of chrome on the metal surface.This method is commonly used for decorative parts, jewellery, watches and pens.
Chemical chrome has the advantage of being more environmentally friendly than electrolytic chrome.In addition, it allows to make more creative finishes, such as black chrome, gold and copper.However, it has the disadvantage of not being as corrosion-resistant as electrolytic chrome.
- Spray chrome
Spray chrome is a surface coating method that uses a spray gun to lay a thin layer of chrome on the metal surface.This method is commonly used for automotive parts, motorcycles and furniture.
Spray chrome has the advantage of being faster and less expensive than electrolytic and chemical chrome methods.In addition, it allows to produce more uniform and more corrosion-resistant finishes.However, it has the disadvantage of being less creative than chemical chrome methods.
- The immersion chrome
The immersion chrome is a surface coating method that uses a liquid chrome bath to deposit a thin layer of chrome on the metal surface.This method is commonly used for automotive parts, faucets and household appliances.
Immersion chrome has the advantage of being faster than electrolytic and chemical chrome methods.In addition, it allows to produce more uniform and more corrosion-resistant finishes.However, it has the disadvantage of being less creative than chemical chrome methods.