You Asked: Can We Chrome Plate Stainless Steel?
The short answer is yes. Most common grades of Stainless Steel can be reliably Chrome Plated, this may however not be the most appropriate process depending on your application.
For A Bright, Shiny Finish
For decorative applications, it may be simpler to instead Electro-polish the item instead. During the elctro-polishing process the component is fitted with two electrodes which are connected to a power supply, this is then immersed into an electrolytic solution. This process removes surface impurities and promotes oxidation of the metal surface. This is a fantastic way to achieve a bright and shiny finish for your stainless steel components.
Many commercial products such as car bumpers are chrome plated to increase their abrasion and scratch resistance. The process itself is often called nickel-chrome. This is because first a layer of nickel is added and then on top a thinner layer of chrome. Much of a products shine actually comes from the nickel ‘undercoat’. Nickel Plating may be one alternative if you are looking to give your component added protection. Nickel would certainly act as a protective barrier and is somewhat corrosive resistance, and quite often used to give products a shiny finish, but over time it will tarnish on its own and this is why Chrome is often used in conjunction to provide a hard and durable layer.
What about Hard Chrome?
‘Hard Chrome’ differs from Bright Chrome in that it is an industrial process which is able to provide a thick, protective barrier for your parts. This will be able to provide a much higher level of wear and corrosive protection for your parts. Hard Chrome is certainly an option for Stainless Steel parts, but may not be suitable should your component/product need to meet REACH standards.
So What Process?
It very much depends on your application. Stainless Steel can be Chrome Plated, but if you are looking purely at making it brighter and more decorative then it may be better to simply polish it. Get in touch with Silchrome Plating together and we can help guide you as to the best plating or coating process. Silchrome are ISO 9001 and 14001 certified and based in Leeds, West Yorkshire.