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Chrome plate on low carbon steel with stainless steel hardware

A design I have in front of me calls for a stainless steel insert hardware to be put into cold roll steel part, and then the assembly to be chrome plated. I have been told there would be a visual distortion of the chrome around the stainless steel insert. Is this true? What really wil happen to the chrome finish and the stainless steel insert? Would the chrome even stick to the SS insert?

Adrian Engelberth
- Dundee, IL, USA

simultaneous replies

If the ss was in the 400 series, it would probably take OK. 300 series gets to be more iffy. The only way to find out is to build a couple of the items and see. I would strongly suspect that there will be a visual difference unless it is a thick coat.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

Hello Adrian

It is possible to plate Nickel then Chrome over stainless steel.

A Woods Nickel strike is required to create the adhesion required on Stainless steel. This is done after the insert is fitted and the entire assembly is struck with Woods Nickel for anything from 2 to 6 minutes.

I assume complete pretreatment and cleaning are done prior to plating.

Therefter the part is Nickel and Chrome plated ..

It works.


Asif Nurie [deceased]
- New Delhi, India
With deep regret we sadly advise that Asif passed away on Jan 24, 2016

Chrome can be applied to SS but a special pretreatment called activation is needed in order to break the tenacious and "invisible" oxide present on top of its surface. This is normally carried out in an all chloride bath known as Wood's nickel strike. 300g/L Nickel chloride + 300g/L HCl room temp, 20-100 Amps/sq.ft (forward polarity at the end of your conventional cleaning and preparation cycle). It should not harm the carbon steel.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico

It is possible to plate an assembly of low carbon/stainless and get good adhesion on both, but most platers aren't equipped to do so. Plate the carbon steel parts and insert the stainless parts later.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina

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