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topic 11547

Adherence strength of chrome plating on mild steel

Q. We are looking to have a vendor put chrome onto mild steel plate which needs to have very good adhesion strength for subsequent bonding operations to aluminum. I would be very grateful if any one could comment on the best preparation of the material and whether chrome straight on to mild steel will give the best adhesion strength. Would there be any advantage to putting nickel on first for instance?

John Milnthorp
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Hard Chromium Plating

Chromium Plating
by Weiner & Walmsley

A. Hello, John. If you don't need the nickel plating for some other reason like corrosion resistance or appearance, you don't need it for adhesion onto mild steel. Adhesion of chrome onto mild steel can be perfect, i.e., the steel or the chrome rips before the interface rips when tested via the Ollard test.

Good luck.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. To achieve a good adhesion, etching of steel before plating is needed. Anodic etching is preferred. Slight etching of acid immersion may be used for highly finished surfaces. You may also do a reverse etching in the chromium bath at its operating temp. at 30 second to a minute. Nickel plating for some steels are required.

Albert Tessensohn

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