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topic 5974

Chrome plating of leaded brass -- Influence of material composition on appearance

A discussion started in 2000 but continuing through 2018


Q. I am doing research work at UW-Milwaukee in metal surface finishing and machining. My question is in regard to electroplating (Chrome plating) leaded brass. If the chemical composition of brass changes in regard to content of Copper,lead,Zinc,Iron and silicon will the appearance of the surface after chrome plating (specifically the shine) have an impact. Surface finish of the brass body after polishing is ~12 to 16 microinch.

Roman Edrik
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA


A. Hi Roman. When properly polished and nickel plated, then chrome plated, you should have no clue of the substrate composition from the appearance. You will probably, however, have a very good indication of what the surface finish was prior to plating. Good luck.

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


Q. Want to know how much a chrome plating machine will cost.
Scott Eller
- Gilbert, Arizona

A. Hi Scott, chrome plating lines might sometimes cost as little as maybe $1000, but sometimes as much as $5 million. What do you intend to do with it, because plating is a highly regulated business in America due to the toxicity of hexavalent chrome among other things.

Plating lines aren't usually called "machines" because a series of custom designed tanks or vats with chemicals in them, and the related auxiliary equipment like exhaust systems, fume scrubbers, heaters, filters, and power supplies is the most central element. Good luck.

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

Q. I have around 2000 lm of brass handrail and I want it to look like stainless steel finish in order to avoid cleaning please give me solution to chrome plating it on site since it very hard to remove
- Nivada, Saudi Arabia

Chrome spotting on leaded brass

June 13, 2018

Q. My situation: Spotting on chromed part is caused by larger then normal lead deposits in the brass alloy micro-structure. Would a thicker copper layer make a more even connectivity allowing the nickle and chrome layers to cover without spotting? Hence, eliminating the spots.

Gary McCormick
Intern - Michigan

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