Plating

Plating

 

Plating is a hydrolysis process, popular for specific architectural finishes that coats a metal with a thin layer of another metal.

There are two types of plating processes:

  • Electroplating – This process involves passing an electric current through a solution called an electrolyte. This is done by dipping two terminals called electrodes into the electrolyte and connecting them into a circuit with a battery or other power supply. The electrodes and electrolyte are made from carefully chosen elements or compounds. When the electricity flows through the circuit they make, the electrolyte splits up and some of the metal atoms it contains are deposited in a thin layer on top of one of the electrodes. When this is done it becomes electroplated.
  • Electroless plating - Involves several simultaneous reactions in an aqueous solution, which occur without the use of external electrical power. Nickel plating is an example of common electroless plating method.

Advantages & Disadvantages:

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Can plate a range of high quality metals,
  • Offers a protective layer against corrosion,
  • Nice range of specific but limited popular architectural finishes,
  • Cost effective,
  • Provides increased strength and hardness.
  • Subject to cracking and chipping in hard wearing environments,
  • Can be a lengthy process as many of our finishes are subsequently hand polished to achieve the desired high quality effect,
  • The process if not managed carefully can show up surface imperfections such as pitting marks or scratches. This is even more profound on cheaper metals.

Applications:

Many manufacturers in the industry will plate their lights, and you can see why. It is the most cost-effective method of finishing. Note to get a high quality finish, hand polishing achieves a close replica, such as antique finishes. Plating is not suited to all applications. This is especially the case in environments where the light is going to be vulnerable to scratching i.e. inground applications or marine applications.

This type of finish is more suitable for applications such as fixed downlights, where once the light is installed it sits untouched in the ceiling and therefore has minimal risk of scratching.

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