Thanks to its superior properties and shiny smooth surface, chrome plating has been a superior metal finishing solution for almost a century. The hardness, durability and corrosion resistance of a chrome-plated surface makes it a popular choice for many industries.
However, there are some drawbacks to chrome plating that lead many to seek an alternative to chrome plating. One of the best and most-used alternatives is nickel plating.
What are the drawbacks to chrome plating?
Chrome plating is more expensive than nickel coating. The chemicals involved in chrome plating are toxic which means the electroplating process is heavily regulated and thus expensive. The chrome plating process is difficult to control, often resulting in uneven finishing. Due to the nature of the electroplating process, there are also limitations to the size of the part that can be chrome plated.
Why is nickel plating used?
Nickel plating is a cost-effective and extremely viable alternative to chrome plating. It is corrosion resistant offering excellent wear and can be fortified by extreme heat treatments. Alloyed with other metals such as tin or tungsten, nickel electroplating delivers exceptional resistance to the elements, hardness and conductivity that lends itself to numerous applications.
Where chrome plating has poor throwing power meaning that it is often difficult to create a uniform coating, nickel plating creates an even coating on a part’s surface. Nickel plating also has flexibility in plating volume and thickness, which means the plating process can plate recesses and blind holes with stable and uniform thickness.
Nickel adheres well to other metals, allowing it to work well as an undercoat or topcoat. What’s more is that nickel plating is bright and silvery-white in colour, providing an aesthetically pleasing topcoat and making it an excellent substitute for chrome plating.
Types of nickel plating
There are a variety of types of nickel plating out there, from electroless nickel plating which provides an excellent barrier against corrosion to dull nickel plating used primarily for engineering applications. Bright nickel plating is widely used for decorative applications, including bathroom and kitchen taps where high shine and corrosion resistance are paramount.
At Dorsetware, we’ve been providing metal finishing services in Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, and Devon since 1969. If you’re interested in nickel plating, we can advise you on the best metal plating solution for your application. Contact us by filling out our online form today.