Quality control and optimization of coating processes in chrome plating
10/1/2022

Efficient analysis of main components and catalysts using ion chromatography (IC)

Chrome plating is an electroplating technique to apply a thin layer of chromium onto a metal surface. This layer can have different functions, from increasing surface hardness, over providing corrosion or wear resistance to decorative purposes. For an efficient plating process, chrome plating baths contain catalysts, such as sulfuric acid, MSA, or MDSA. Excessive catalyst concentrations can cause defects on the plating surface, while insufficient concentrations can impair the process and/or cause dull spots or burned deposits. Monitoring their concentration level is therefore a prerequisite. Ion chromatography (IC) is the ideal solution for monitoring catalyst concentrations, besides chromate and inorganic anions, such as fluoride or chloride.

Chrome plating baths have a high ionic strength, are acidic, and extremely toxic. This makes the analysis challenging for analysts and equipment. By combining IC with automated (intelligent) Inline Dilution, plating bath samples can be analyzed without prior manual sample preparation. The system automatically dilutes the samples based on a pre-defined or a calculated optimum dilution factor, reducing the risk of exposure to these toxic solutions for analysts to a minimum and increasing operational safety.

Metrohm’s flexible systems facilitate upgrades and/or automation for a continuous 24/7 monitoring offline, at-line, or as in-process analytics. With IC, medium and low concentrations of metals can be determined with a high accuracy next to each other. Additional solution components can be determined at the same time, even if they span a broad concentration range. Download our free application notes to learn more.

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