Perspectives: Ask a Question; Answer a Question

Every week or so, I check out the questions in the forum section of PF ONLINE.

Every week or so, I check out the questions in the forum section of PF ONLINE. There are occasions when I have been able to help people find answers to their queries.

As an example, a high school teacher recently asked a question about copper/nickel/chrome decorative electroplating. He wanted to know how to explain it to his students in his Material Sciences class. It just so happened that Jerry Poll, former editor and publisher of PRODUCTS FINISHING, had written a "Five Minute Guide to Plating." I emailed the teacher and gave him some basics on copper/nickel/chrome plating and offered to fax him the guide, explaining that this would by no means cover everything, since books have been written and conferences done on the subject, but it would give him enough of an explanation for his class. He was happy for the input.

In other situations, I knew who to ask to answer the person's question. One question asked how to figure the percentage of nitric acid in an acid tank. The person needed a formula to compute the percentage by volume. I knew someone who could answer the question. I asked him if he would mind. Not only did he help out a fellow plater, but he was able to get some recognition for his company as well.

For other questions, it only takes a simple search through the PF ONLINE Article Archive or even a search engine, and I find the answer. Other times it is as simple as directing the person to another web site such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology or the American Society for Testing and Materials.

So, what's the point? The PF ONLINE Forums are a great way for you to get answers to questions about your finishing processes and for you to help out other finishers. Everyone has a different store of knowledge. You cannot imagine what sharing that knowledge may do to help someone. I'd like to think that the "Five Minute Plating Guide" inspires at least one of those students to go on to join the finishing industry. Even if it doesn't, it has made a classroom of high school students aware of the industry and what it is all about. If you have a finishing question, check it out. If you think you can help another finisher, take a look,