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Electroplating onto Titanium

RFQ: Hello,

I need to know if Titanium or Beta Titanium can be plated to look like stainless steel (like the Rolex [affil links] matte finish watches) or white gold. I basically need it to look bright.
I have been searching for a while and I don't know if such plating exists. Can titanium be plated with Rhodium or Palladium to achieve the Rolex look or is there another coating that exists?

Anyone might know a company name or how this process works?

thank you,

Gary Oganian
product designer - Los Angeles, California
April 18, 2008

Ed. note: Sorry, this RFQ is old & outdated, so contact info is no longer available. However, if you feel that something technical should be said in reply, please post it; no public commercial suggestions please ( huh? why?)

A. Hi, Gary. Effective, adherent plating must be done onto clean, bare, raw metal ... not onto metal oxides. Consequently, it is much more difficult to plate onto a very active metal like titanium (which quickly forms a tenacious oxide film) than steel or brass.

But it can be done; ASM Metals Handbook, Vol. 5 [on on Amazon or AbeBooks affil links] has good coverage of the required pretreatment processes -- one of which is nickel plating followed by a high temperature diffusion bake. I think you need to locate a shop with experience in plating onto titanium. Once you have something/anything plated on the titanium, you may be free to add additional plating layers like Rhodium or Palladium.

Hopefully one of our supporting advertisers who have that capability will contact you in private. But matte is pretty much the opposite of shiny, so I'm a bit confused about exactly what you're looking for -- maybe a glass bead-blast 'frosted' look? Good luck!

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

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