We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Different Types of Plating Chemicals?

By Christian Petersen
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Electroplating is the process of using a weak electric current to bond a metal to an object. The electric current, coupled with the solution, effectively transfers the plating material to the object to be plated and chemically bonds it to the surface. Commonly used plating chemicals include cyanides of the plating metal, phosphates, carbonates, and acids.

In order to initiate the electroplating process, a circuit is set up with an anode made of the metal used for plating. The object to be plated is connected to a cathode. Both objects are then immersed in a liquid solution containing chemicals which oxidize the anode, and with the introduction of an electric current, transfer molecules of the plating material to the object being plated. The electroplating bath usually consists of water and sulfuric acid.

Sulfuric acid is a strong acid with the chemical formula SH2O4. This acid is important to the electroplating process and is the most common plating chemical. It reduces the pH of the bath and also serves as the catalyst for the plating process. Atoms of the plating metal bond with the acid and are then transferred to the object being plated due to the opposite electric charges of the anode and cathode and the electric current passing between them.

Salts of the metal being used for plating are added to the solution. These salts are water soluble, which is essential to the plating process, as the dissolved salts ensure a more even coating of the plating material. Salts are a combination of a metal and chlorine. Almost any metal can bond with chlorine to form a salt. Nickel plating, for example, uses Nickel chloride.

Phosphates, sulfates and carbonates, usually of the plating metal, are also commonly added to the electroplating bath. These plating chemicals help to increase and maintain the electric conductivity of the solution. Increased conductivity improves the efficiency of the plating process.

Plating chemicals also include cyanides of the plating metal as well as other metals, like potassium. These chemicals serve more than one purpose. They increase the conductivity and improve the rate of corrosion of the anode, which leads to better transfer of the plating material to the target object. The addition of cyanides also helps maintain a higher level of dissolved metal ions in the solution, making more of the plating material available to plate the target. Acids like boric acid and hydrochloric acid as well as substances like hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydroxide are also common plating chemicals.

About Mechanics 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.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.