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Stainless Steel Electroplating?

Stainless Steel Electroplating?

(OP)
Ignorant mechanical engineer here seeking info.

Is it possible to electroplate bronze or cast-iron to achieve a stainless steel coating?

"Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." -Bruce Lee

RE: Stainless Steel Electroplating?

Forget stainless steel, think chromium or nickel plating (either electroplating or electroless). Those platings are possible for bronze and cast iron.

RE: Stainless Steel Electroplating?

In addition to what CoryPad points out about chrome or nickel plating being suitable for bronze or cast iron substrates, while both Cr and Ni plating provide good corrosion resistance, the best choice will depend on your specific application. There are many different types of Cr plating (hard chrome, thin-dense chrome, decorative chrome) and Ni plating (electrodeposited nickel, electroless nickle), and there are numerous commercial variants of each process that include special additive treatments like teflon infusion. You must also consider factors like the plating's hardness, thickness, conformability, permeability, etc. Also, some of these plating processes can be quite costly.

RE: Stainless Steel Electroplating?

(OP)
Thank you fellas for the info.

The reason I'm asking about stainless steel specifically is because I need materials that are potable, i.e. drinking water safe. The two major metals used in potable water plumbing are bronze and stainless steel because of the virtually non-existent lead content. My company already produces one of our products in a bronze format and now we're looking to expand that product-line with stainless steel.

So just to clarify are you guys saying it's completely impossible to electroplate/electroless bronze or cast iron to stainless steel? Or are you just recommending chromium and nickel?

"Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." -Bruce Lee

RE: Stainless Steel Electroplating?

You have confused me. Want do you want at the basis metal and what do you want as the surface layer?

RE: Stainless Steel Electroplating?

(OP)
Surface layer I would like stainless steel. Basis/starting metal would be bronze or cast iron. Is that possible?

Let's pretend cost is not an issue; is it possible?

"Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." -Bruce Lee

RE: Stainless Steel Electroplating?

You couldn't do that by plating (hence my recommendations for chromium or nickel). You might be able to do that by some kind of thermal spray process.

RE: Stainless Steel Electroplating?

(OP)
Thermal spray huh? Is that only way to plate stainless steel onto another metal or are there other plating methods?

"Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." -Bruce Lee

RE: Stainless Steel Electroplating?

Most electroplating works best with a single metal i.e. copper , Nickel , Chrome. Stainless steel is a mixture of metals.
Whilst Nothing is impossible it would at best be very difficult , hence the recommendations for Nickel or Chrome.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Stainless Steel Electroplating?

Decorative chrome and electroless nickel plating are commonly applied to cast brass plumbing fixtures like faucets that are used for drinking water. These platings are very durable and safe for use with potable water.

As CoryPad noted there are coating processes like flame spray, plasma spray, HVOF, arc spray, etc. that can apply stainless steel alloys to a bronze or cast iron substrate. But there are some limitations to these processes. They work best when applied to external surfaces that have fairly simple geometry, and coating internal surfaces is usually not possible unless the opening is large and shallow enough to permit spray nozzle access.

If cost is truly no concern, you might contact some vendors that perform PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) vacuum coating. I believe this process could be used to apply a thin film of stainless steel to a bronze or cast iron substrate. However I don't think it will be cheap, and you need to make sure your part will fit into the vacuum chamber.

Good luck to you.
Terry

RE: Stainless Steel Electroplating?

Attempting to electroplate with stainless steel would probably only selectively remove either the chromium or the nickel from the stainless steel and deposit on the bronze. I agree that a thermal spray process is probably the proper method, but I'm not sure that works well on small items, assuming your products are fittings or similar.

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