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Plating on Micro-porous Concrete
August 3, 2015
Q. We are a electroplating shop doing Zinc plating, Type II Anodize and Chem-Film. Our next door neighbor brought me a diamond shaped part that he wants to look metallic, for example gold or silver(for decorative purposes). The part is made of micro-porous concrete. I'm familiar with metallizing to achieve a substrate that can later be plated, but I not knowledgeable about other type of processes that can achieve the gold or silver look. I asked him if he thought about Physical vapor deposition but he said he didn't want to go that route (I'm assuming costs). So my question, is it possible to electroplate micro-porous concrete? And what type of plating would give me the most look of polished gold or silver, without being gold or silver?David Juarez
Plating shop employee - Orange, California United States
Hi David. Google didn't help me find anything about "microporous concrete", so I'm in the dark as what can and can't be done with it. Presumably it can be lacquered to seal it, then metallized and plated with anything you wish. But as you would know, a principle issue for functional plating is adhesion, and plating onto a lacquer on a concrete will certainly not yield traditional metal-on-metal adhesion values, probably not even traditional paint-on-metal values.
Technologies for applying a metal look to hard surfaces like this already exist with metallic look epoxy floor coverings, for example, and "chrome-look" paint offered by a number of vendors including G.J. Nikolas [a finishing.com supporting advertiser]. Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
October 14, 2015
A. I reckon it is possible, but have never done it. I suggest trying electroless nickel to metallise the concrete and then build up a thicker layer with an electrolytic deposit.
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK