Hexavalent Chrome

What is Hexavalent Chromium?

Chrome as it is so called was introduced in the 1920’s to prevent the electroplated nickel from tarnishing. This is known as decorative chrome. The coating is very hard 65 – 69 HRC. With a thickness of 200 – 600 microns in comparison to decorative hexavalent chrome with a thickness of 0.3 – 1.3 microns.

The hard chrome process is for components that are electro-plated to build up dimensions, improve durability, abrasion tolerance and wear resistance for engineering purposes.

Hexavalent Chrome Main Uses

Originally chrome was hex-chrome, Cr+6 formula and was used for decorative and hard chrome plating in the automotive and engineering industry.

This has generally been replaced by trivalent chrome which is a greener process. With modern technology and environmental issues hard chrome is not as popular as it was some years ago, now being replaced with polymers, metals and ceramic powders.

Trivalent vs. Hexavalent Chrome

The hexavalent chrome process is much easier to control than trivalent because the solution comprises less chemicals, however from a health and safety aspect it is has a greater impact on the environment due to the toxicity of the basic chemicals and the health and safety of the operators.

In reality at the time of writing hexavalent chrome finish does give a more corrosion resistant coating.

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