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What is Chrome Plating?

Malcolm Tatum
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Chrome plating is a process that involves the electroplating of a thin veneer of chromium onto an underlying metal. Sometimes used for decorating purposes, chrome plating can also serve as a layer of protection as well. Often, chrome plating is applied to metal objects when there is an increased opportunity for corrosion to occur.

The actual process of chrome plating involves five basic stages. In the first stage, careful attention is paid to the metallic object that is to receive the plating treatment. Chemicals will be used to degrease the metal, helping to ensure that the surface is free of any components that could cause the plating to fail. Along with the degreasing process, a thorough cleaning of the surface will also help to remove any remaining residue, such as tiny particles of dirt.

For the third stage of the plating process, the underlying metal will undergo a series of treatments to smooth the surface. By making sure that the surface of the metal is as smooth as possible, the plating will maintain a higher degree of integrity over a longer period of time. After making sure the surface is smooth, the metal is placed into a vat that is filled with a pretreatment solution, and allowed to gradually warm to the ideal temperature to receive the plating of chrome.

In the fifth and final stage, the plating process begins. This essentially involves filling the vat with the chromium components and allowing the compounds to etch their way into the surface of the metal. The amount of time that the metal remains in the vat depends on the degree of thickness desired for the chrome plating.

When prepared according to prevailing industry standards, chrome plating can stand up to a great deal of exposure for many years. Metal bumpers on motor vehicles are an excellent example of plating that will hold up for decades, with nothing more than general maintenance. In like manner, faucets and other chrome fixtures will also maintain an attractive appearance for many years with only basic care required.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum

Writer

Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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