Ask an Expert From: Products Finishing,

Posted on: 1/12/2012

Should black chromium perform as well as decorative chromium?

Q. One of our customers is concerned about the quality of the black chromium that we apply to some of his parts. He says the decorative chromium parts that we supply to him are fine, and he wants the black chrome to perform as well and not scratch. He has not shown us any samples of failed parts but insists he is right. Should black chromium perform as well as decorative chromium?       T.S.

A. The direct answer to your question is, no. The black chromium deposit is a mixture of oxides that is soft and easily damaged. You might consider an alternate finish for the black chromium; black nickel or black oxide might hold up better under the conditions that your customer’s parts encounter.
It would be worthwhile for you to sit down with your customer and determine if he has hard data to support his claim. Is your customer performing some sort of scratch test on the parts he is complaining about scratching? I have always felt that it is most important that you work with your customers to determine exactly what the issues are. In your particular case, it does not appear that your customer has really documented how they determined that the black chromium parts are failing. 

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