What Is Electrolytic Plating?

- Feb 04, 2021-

Electroless plating does not require electricity, but electrolytic does. The electroplating process needs a conductive base, an electrical current and an electrolyte bath. We must thoroughly clean the base material before submerging it into the electrolyte solution. Along with the substrate, we plunge a bar of the metal used for plating. This metal, the anode, helps to replenish the metal ions in the bath as they deposit onto the base. Next, we connect both the base and plating metal to electricity. The positive wire connects to the anode while the negative wire attaches to the piece we plate.


As electricity passes through the metals and solution, it draws metal ions out of the solution and deposits them in a thin layer onto the base. The amount of voltage that passes through the solution depends significantly on the size of the part plated. Because the calculations for voltage are so exact and the time for electrodeposition is so fast, electroplating is not a task for amateurs.


Electroplating costs less than electroless plating does, and the price becomes a deciding factor for some. With electroplating, we can create thicker finishes than with electroless coating. How you may use electroplated materials, however, depends on what you require of the finished product:

Matte Finish: For applications where the appearance is less important than the strength and wear resistance, choose the matte finish sulfamate nickel plating, which improves durability and strength.

Bright Finish: If your project requires the aesthetic appeal of bright nickel, select sulfate nickel electroplating. Though it looks stunning with its gleaming finish, this coating does not provide the durability of sulfamate nickel. It also has a thinner depth compared to its matte finish alternative.