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Gold plating on ABS plastic
RFQ: I have some plastic parts for my street rod that need to be gold plated. Only part of some of these parts are to be gold plated. The rest is to be left black plastic. I had a person in CA do some but he is not available anymore. (Items such as trim around power window switch, the levers on the switch itself.)
Thank you,Edward P [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Pottstown, Pennsylvania, USA
Q. This is a question from my polymer course at university. What and how are the process of gold plate on ABS plastic? Could you please help me? Thank you a lot!Maria Lins
student - São Paulo, Brazil
A. Hi, Maria.
If you look at a chrome plated grill or bezel on an automobile, you will see that it is chrome plated plastic, and probably ABS. Gold plating of ABS would be the same process except the final layer would be gold plating instead of chrome plating.
The earlier steps would include etching (ABS is a two-component plastic, and one of them dissolves in strong chromic-sulfuric acid, putting a good "tooth" on the surface), seeding with a palladium colloid, electroless nickel plating the palladium, and then electrolytic nickel plating. For automotive quality there are usually a few more steps, including copper plating between the electroless nickel and the nickel plating.
There is plenty of info about plating of plastic available on this site and the rest of the web, and authoritative information can be found in plating texts and the journals serving the plating industry. Best of luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Dear Mr. Ted Mooney, thank you for helping me with my question.
Best regards,Maria Lins
- São Paulo, Brazil