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Hard chrome plating on copper

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February 11, 2022

Q. Hello everyone. I am Abhishek. I have one query: can I electroplate chromium on copper base or copper plated material? If it is possible please let me know the bath chemistry and current density.

- Ludhiana, Punjab, India

"Hard Chromium Plating"
by Robert K. Guffie
from Abe Books
or Amazon
(affil links)

February 2022

A. Hi ABHISHEK. When hard chrome is plated onto hardened steel, a rather thin layer can be functional. But when plated onto soft copper it must be very thick to not crack like an eggshell, so it is not a very common procedure but it can certainly be done. In fact it uses the standard bath chemistry and current density. For example, 28 oz/gal chromic acid, 1/100 that much sulfuric acid, at about 200-250 A/sq. ft.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

↓ Closely related postings, oldest first ↓


Q. We have a 1" x 1" x 1" hard-chrome plated copper heater block that is developing blisters when the temperature is held at 130 °C. The plating ranges from 0.0002 to 0.001 inches thick. The blisters eventually fall off (they actually pop off at times), leaving 0.25 to 0.5 diameter unplated copper. The block is heated by a cartridge heater inserted into a hole in the block. Temperature is controlled with a PID controller and a thermocouple inserted into another hole in the block. We call our MIL spec hard chrome, but have a serious problem with the result. We'd greatly appreciate any suggestions as to what is causing the problem so we can help our plater solve the problem.

John Bussan
manufacturing - Chicago, Illinois

"Electrodeposition of Chromium from Chromic Acid Solutions"
by George Dubpernell"
from Abe Books
or Amazon
(affil links)


A. It's good to want to help advise the plater how to fix it, but probably not realistic to expect that someone can give you a quick tip that you can pass on to fix things. But, to give it a try, please remind your shop that copper must not be reverse etched because this causes copper to dissolve at just the wrong time, and makes the chrome non-adherent. Rather, after cleaning, which could be as simple as pumice [adv: item on eBay & Amazon] scrubbing and rinsing, the copper must enter the chrome tank "live" (cathodic).

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey


thumbs up sign Thanks Ted!

John Bussan
manufacturer - Chicago, Illinois [returning]

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