Answering the question ‘what is electroplating’ is quite simple as a lot of people are quite familiar with the term. In simple terms, electroplating is the process of plating a metal with another one with the help of electricity. It consists of an anode and a cathode, where the anode is the positive electrode and the cathode is the negative electrode. The metal that needs to be electroplated is placed at the cathode and the metal that is used to plate the other metal with is placed at the anode. Then electricity is passed through the system and the redox reaction occurs – the anode is oxidized and the cathode is reduced as part of the chemical reaction.
However, there is a bigger question that needs to be answered – what is electroplating used for?
As can be deduced from the name, electroplating involves plating one metal with another. When a less reactive metal is plated onto a more reactive metal, the former can protect the latter from corrosion. This is why a lot of vehicles are chrome-plated when they start wearing out. Another reason for electroplating could be to make it thicker and hence less brittle than it originally was. Electroplating less conducive metals like aluminum and iron with highly conductive metals like copper can help increase the conductivity of the metal while also improving the wear resistance of the same.
Some of the other applications of this technique are in quite a niche space, but extremely important all the same. Using this technique, it is possible to make a rough surface relatively smooth. Since this process occurs uniformly on the surface, it can be used hence. Another application of this technique is the minimization of friction. When the surface becomes more smooth, it automatically relates to a smoother surface and hence a lesser coefficient of friction. Perfecting this to a great degree is essential when it comes to the manufacture of all land, sea, and air vehicles.
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