Electroplating involves working with metals on the molecular level, a process that requires the highest degree of precision and perfection. But just as with most operations, something could go awry. You might have followed the procedures to the letter only to have the results be far from satisfactory. The only way to determine what went wrong is to examine each step of the plating process in order to find out what was missed or performed incorrectly.

Electroplating Problems

(Pixabay / Michael Gaida)

Errors are most likely to occur in the preparation stage. The smallest particle of dust or oil that remained on the substrate during submergence will prevent the correct bonding of the molecules. This will result in flaking or blistering of the plating layer. For this reason, a thorough electrocleaning is necessary to make sure that the substrate will allow the metal bonding.

Oxidation is another problem. When the substrate is exposed to the environment, the process of oxidation begins. Rust is the result of the oxidation process on metals. Any trace of oxidation that remains on the substrate will result in areas of poor plating. Ensuring that substrates are not exposed to the environment will guarantee even electroplating.

Uneven plating could also be traced to the speed of the electroplating process. When you increase the electrical current, the process could be hastened, but there will be a risk of uneven and incomplete bonding of the metal molecules. Electroplaters must understand the balance between increasing the rate of the electroplating process and preserving high plate quality. Maintaining this equilibrium will keep the speed of electroplating from compromising the process.

Once the causes of the electroplating problems are pinpointed, the next step is to ensure that they will not be repeated so that you can maintain top quality work.