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Mechanical Plating vs. Electroplating

Advantages of Mechanical Plating over Electroplating

  • Does not induce hydrogen embrittlement therefore does not require lengthy baking cycles to remove hydrogen.
  • Room temperature process, not detempering.

Electroplating is a process in which electric current is used to deposit metal onto a workpiece. In the process the workpiece to be plated is the cathode of the circuit and the metal to be plated on the workpiece is the cathode. Both are submerged in an electrolytic solution that permits the flow of electricity. Direct current is applied to the anode which oxidizes the metal atoms which allows them to be dissolved in the solution. These dissolved atoms are then deposited on the cathode (workpiece) which forms the plated surface.

Hydrogen Embrittlement

Prior to electroplating, workpieces must go through an acid pickling process to clean the surface of the workpiece. This process produces hydrogen which then diffuses into the workpiece causing it to become brittle. Hydrogen is also produced during the electroplating process further embrittling the workpiece. In order to remove the hydrogen after plating the workpiece must go through a baking process at 400-800°F (204-426°C) for 2-8 hours depending on the thickness of the workpiece.