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topic 7194

Relieving Parts: How Long, How Hot?


Q. Is there a commonly accepted time/temperature table for relief of C1050 parts? We have tried 375 °F for 4 hours but see some dulling/graying of the zinc plate and would like to try shorter times or lower temperatures which do not cause loss of the bright zinc plated surface.

Charles Flanagan
- Gulfport, Florida, US


A. Are you chromating before baking? You must bake the zinc plating before chromating. The cycle is plate, bake, then chromate after baking.

Todd Osmolski
- Charlotte, North Carolina, USA


Q. We have tried both baking before nitric and chromate and baking after using a chromate specifically designed for post-bake with the same results.

Charles Flanagan [returning]
- Gulfport, Florida US


A. Sir: Please remember that the parts which you are coating with bright Zinc, and then relieving for Hydrogen Embrittlement are Functional Plated Parts, and Not Decorative Parts. Zinc is a very active metal (which is why we use it in the first place). When we bake a bright coating, we may be causing it to react with something (maybe co-deposited organics, or even Oxygen in the oven), which would explain the dullness.

As mentioned in a previous response, the Chromate Passivate is applied after the part has been baked and cooled down to room temperature. It usually does not look like an unbaked part. The only finish that may be baked with a chromate finish on it, is a Zinc/Nickel alloy deposit, and that because of its excellent heat and thermal shock resistance. It too, will lose some hours of corrosion resistance, but many users find that 500+ hours is still acceptable after baking with the chromate on the part. Plus, it reduces the number of operations to finish the part. We hear questions like this often, and once we all agree on whether plating is decorative or functional, we can then settle down to the business of turning out the proper finish.

ed budman
eb sig
Ed Budman
- Pennsylvania


A. Dear Mr Charles,

You are bound to see discoloration if you bake above two hours. My choice would be to Acid Zinc plate the parts up to 80-90% of the required plating thickness, neutralise or Blue passivate, Hydrogen De-embrittle, Acid Zinc plate again for the remaining 10-20% thickness, final passivate to the chromate of your choice. The second plating will hardly embrittle the surface at all.

Khozem Vahaanwala
Khozem Vahaanwala
Saify Ind supporting advertiser
Bangalore, Karnataka, India

saify logo

June 18, 2018


1/2-13 X 1 3/4 FLAT SOCKETS 4140 ALLOY RC 38-44 180,000 PCS




June 2018

A. Hi Fay. I'm a bit concerned that if readers answer you it will be misinterpreted. What exactly do you mean by the "+" in your question? I hope you are not intending to do the baking at some later date -- it must be done immediately after plating and before the chromating. Your plating sounds awfully thin, substantially below the 5 microns in most specs; and is there a good reason you are sticking with hexavalent chromate these days?

There are a dozen or more discussion threads on the subject on line here, but 4 hours at 375 °F is probably the right answer. But I think the best path forward might be to start requiring that the plating be done to a spec, for example ASTM B633 [link by ed. to spec at TechStreet] . Good luck.


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

June 27, 2018

It appears to me that your plater is relying on ASTM B850-98 [link by ed. to spec at TechStreet] which prescribes baking cycles as a function of tensile strength. Rockwell hardness (C scale) of 38 is roughly 1200 MPa and Rc of 44 is roughly 1400 MPa. (See DIN 50150 - or many other places - for a correlation of Rc to MPa.) ASTM B 850 prescribes baking cycles of 12 - 14 hours for MPa of 1200 - 1400 so your plater is recommending 14 hours because that is what would be required for a Rc of 44. You certainly should be safe at that baking time since the coating thickness is so low (the thicker the deposit the more likely it is to seal in the hydrogen). Non-electrolytic processes (dip-spin paints, mechanical plating) do not introduce hydrogen embrittlement and therefore do not require baking.

Tom Rochester
Plating Systems and Technologies, Inc. - Jackson Michigan USA

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