Metal plating is the process of depositing a metal onto a surface. Metal plating may use any one of a large number of metals and alloys, depending on the application. Two different processes are used in metal plating: electrolytic plating and electroless plating.
In electrolytic plating or "electroplating," a metal in its ionic form is supplied with electrons to form a coating on an object. Electroless plating, also known as chemical or auto-catalytic plating, is a type of plating that does not use electricity. Electroless plating involves several simultaneous reactions in an aqueous solution. Electroless plating is most commonly used for nickel plating.
Metal plating may be used to improve the appearance of an object, as with bright chrome plating, or to improve its resistance to wear, corrosion and oxidation, as in the process of galvanization (zinc coating) or tin plating.
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Metal Plating, also known as chemical or auto-catalytic plating, is a type of plating that does not use electricity. Metal Plating involves several simultaneous reactions in an aqueous solution. Metal Plating is generally used in place of electrolytic plating in order to achieve plating that has a consistent, even thickness, even on irregularly-shaped pieces. In addition, unlike electrolytic plating, Metal Plating can be deposited on non-conductive surfaces.
The main drawback of Metal Plating is the chemical treatment that a piece must undergo before it is plated. A piece must be cleaned several rounds of pre-treatment chemicals to eliminate unwanted soils in order to achieve good plating.