The main process offered by Nichrom is the nickel electroplating. Applying a thin layer of nickel onto a metal strengthen it with outstanding properties of the nickel: corrosion protection, high ductility, hardness, wear resistance and slow rate of oxidation at room temperature. Its bright and silvery colour increases its decorative value.
There are four main components used in a nickel electroplating process:
- A bath with an electrolyte solution of nickel (ex. Watts nickel plating bath)
- The constant-current source (4V-20V)
- Two electrodes immersed in a bath and connected to the electricity
In the water solution nickel chloride salt dissociates to negative chloride ions and positive nickel cat-ions. The negative charged electrode (a base metal surface) attracts the positive nickel cat-ions. At the same time, the negative chloride ions are attracted to the positive-charged rod of the nickel. Afterwards, the ions neutralize the charge on the metal, creating a nickel coating on it.
The reaction is described by following equation: Ni(H2O)42+ + 2e– = Ni + 4H2O
In today’s technology nickel electroplating finds many applications:
- Hydraulic industry
- Furniture (ex. Furniture fittings)
- Plumbing fixtures
- Medical industry
- Household items
- Lighting components
- Automotive industry (rims, exhaust pipes, bumpers)