Home » FAQ » How to avoid blistering and pin-holes on a chrome-plated surface?

How to avoid blistering and pin-holes on a chrome-plated surface?

We discovered that the industrial chrome-plated surfaces are damaged and it's progressing quickly. The surfaces belong to a rotating part that exposed to constant alteration of temperatures (10-15C difference) and shear forces from the flow of hot polymer composite material. There are no strong acids or bases or oxidizers present, but there are some inorganic salts (sodium chloride, sodium sulfate and possibly citrate).

There are a number of things that could be the root cause of the problem. The first thing that comes to mind is the surface being plated was not chemically clean before the plating was done. There may be a problem with the chemistry of the chromic acid bath at the time of plating. I don't think the environment the part is being used in is a problem. I have used hard chrome plated surfaces on cutting tools. Cutting tools are extreme conditions compared to what you are describing. There are some basic design rules.
  1. Discuss your issues/concerns with the platter.
  2. The exact alloy being plated makes a difference. Some alloys plate better than others.
  3. Avoid sharp corners, both internal and external. Corners need radii.
  4. Avoid deep pockets. It is difficult to get uniform plating in deep pockets.
  5. Avoid long and non-uniform distances between the Anode and the surfaces being plated.
The next point is have you considered using a Thin Film application such as CrNMod, it will provide a low coefficient of friction, high surface hardness, corrosion resistance and it will not crack or flake off if applied correctly. It is typically 2-5microns in thickness so it will not have any interference with your dimensions.

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