Chromium Plating and Cracks

Question: We are a small hard chromium job shop.


We are a small hard chromium job shop. Recently we took on a new client and are finding that a large percentage of the parts that we are trying to plate tend to crack. The areas of the parts that are thin seem to be most prone to this problem. The parts are made of steel. How can we control this problem? M. C.


There isn’t much information given with your question but the first thing you should do is determine what type of steel you are dealing with. It is my guess that you are either dealing with high-strength steel or heat-treated steel. The thin areas of the parts you are plating are under a lot of stress. My suggestion is to relieve the stress before going into the plating step. This can be done by baking the parts at 450 to 500°F for approximately four hours. If you are dealing with high-strength steel, the parts will have to be baked after the plating step also.

This is a classic example of not knowing enough about the materials you are working with. Before you take on any type of job, you should have all of the details about the composition of the parts. Your customer should give you this information and if he doesn’t you should demand information before you even bid on the contract.