The difference between hard chrome plating, nickel chrome plating and spray chrome plating

People are attracted to the shiny, reflective surface that chrome can offer. The mirror-like finish can give a clean, premium look to anything it adorns and captivate all who see it. Many people have misconceptions about chrome and don't understand the difference between hard chrome plating, nickel plating and spray chrome plating. Here's a guide to help you understand how each type of differs.

Hard chrome plating

Hard chrome plating is probably the least understood of these three chrome plating processes.

Hard chrome plating applies heavy layers of chromium to provide wear resistance, oil retention and lubricity. It is not decorative and is instead used to add durability to things like piston rings, hydraulic cylinder rods, thread guides and molds. It derives its name from its measurable thickness and is usually applied to steel substrates. Although metallic and shiny, it is not a decorative finish. Hard chrome is a good choice for wheels or bumpers.

Nickel Chrome Plating

Also referred to as decorative chrome plating, nickel chrome plating involves the electroplating of a thin layer of nickel on the item before it is chrome plated. Copper can also be electroplated prior to applying nickel to the item. The nickel plating adds smoothness, reflectivity and corrosion resistance. The layer of chrome applied to it is very thin, measuring only millionths of an inch. The appearance of decorative chrome comes primarily from the nickel plating.

The thin layer of chrome applied on top gives it a slight blue cast, while the nickel underneath is more yellow. The chrome layer protects against scratches and tarnishing and increases corrosion resistance. Without the nickel plating, the finish would not be decorative, reflective and rust resistant.

Disadvantages of chrome plating

While chrome plating adds durability along with a glossy finish in the case of decorative veneers, there are several

's Disadvantages of choosing traditional chrome plating. The coating is not uniform and the hexavalent chromium is toxic and dangerous.

Surface tension measurements are often inaccurate. Thicker chrome coatings do not provide as good corrosion resistance. Finally, the process is difficult to control and significantly more expensive than the spray chrome process.

The Spray Chrome Alternative

An alternative method of maintaining the brilliant shine of a chrome surface is to select Spray Chrome. Spray chrome is the application of multiple layers of chemicals to an object to silver it to a deep shine.

It's much cheaper and you don't have to send your part in for chrome plating. Instead, people can chrome their items in their garages using whatever equipment they have on hand along with a spray gun. Spray chrome provides a strong, durable finish that is scratch, tarnish and corrosion resistant. The coatings are thicker and do not use hazardous chemicals and heavy metals that traditional chrome plating processes require.

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