Metal plating (also known as electroplating or electrodeposition) is a coating technology that deposits a thin later of a metal or alloy on a conductive surface to impart particular functional or aesthetic properties. During the plating process, the object to be plated functions as the positively charged cathode while the desired plating material serves as the negatively charged anode and source of the metallic ions that will form the final coating. Immersing both materials in a bath or solution of electrolyte salts and adding an electrical current causes an oxidation/reduction reaction on the surface of the cathode where the metallic ions are deposited.

There are numerous metals commonly used as plating materials such as zinc, copper, chromium, and nickel. which impart wear and corrosion resistance, improve strength, and enhance solderability. Precious metal coatings are especially important to the electronics and semiconductor industries in addition to the crafting of fine jewelry.

American Elements manufactures high purity metallic and alloy source materlals and electrolyte salts for plating of advanced technology components. Standard forms include powders, balls, solutions, and other shapes.

Innovation Case Study #27: American Elements Designs Custom Electroplated Anodes for National Security Technologies

#27: American Elements Designs Custom Electroplated Anodes for National Security Technologies


The Challenge

For a contract with the DoD in 2016, National Security Technologies required a custom electroplated anode for a high voltage X-ray generator that could withstand exposure to vacuum and x-ray guiding wires. The x-rays had the potential to penetrate the parts, degrading the materials, and NST wanted to minimize damage that would require eventual replacement of the parts.

The Innovation

NST turned to American Elements because they had the capabilities to determine the most appropriate material for the anode, to assist with the design of the complex part, and to manufacture the final product. American Elements production engineers provided feedback based on their in-house machining capabilities that allowed them to determine a design that would be suitable for their requirements.

The Result

American Elements successfully fabricated the anode from copper electroplated with chromium and lead to enable it to withstand the demanding environment of the generator.

Selected Products Supplied to the Metal Plating Industry

Aluminum Cubes Aluminum Metal Aluminum Potassium Sulfate Dodecahydrate Aluminum Sodium Sulfate
Aluminum Sulfate Octadecahydrate Ammonium Nickel(II) Sulfate Hexahydrate Ammonium Sulfate Cadmium Metal
Cadmium Sulfate Hydrate Cadmium Sulfate Solution Cadmium Tetrafluoroborate Solution Chromium Carbide - Nickel Chromium Composite Powder
Chromium Metal Chromium Potassium Sulfate Chromium Sulfate Chromium(III) Acetate Hydroxide
Chromium(III) Potassium Sulfate Dodecahydrate Chromium(III) Potassium Sulfate Solution Cobalt Metal Cobalt Sulfate
Copper Gold Alloy Copper Gold Nickel Alloy Copper Metal Copper Pyrophosphate
Copper Sulfate Copper Tetraammine Sulfate Hydrate Copper(I) Cyanide Copper(I) Thiocyanate
Diammineplatinum(II) Nitrite Solution Ferric Sulfate Ferrous Sulfate Gold Copper Alloy
Gold Copper Nickel Alloy Gold Copper Palladium Alloy Gold Cyanide Gold Indium Alloy
Gold Metal Gold Nickel Palladium Alloy Gold Sulfate Gold Tin Alloy
Gold(I) Potassium Cyanide Gold(I) Sodium Cyanide Gold(I) Sodium Thiosulfate Hydrate Gold(III) Potassium Cyanide
Gold(III) Potassium Thiocyanate Hydrogen Hexabromoplatinate(IV) Hydrate Indium Sulfate Indium(III) Sulfate Hydrate
Iron Metal Iron(III) Ferrocyanide Lead Metal Lead(II) Methanesulfonate Solution
Manganese(III) Phosphate Hydrate Nickel Carbonate Basic Hydrate Nickel Metal Nickel Sulfate
Palladium Metal Palladium Nickel Alloy Palladium Nickel Gauze Palladium Sulfate
Palladium(II) Cyanide Palladium(II) Potassium Thiosulfate Monohydrate Platinum Metal Platinum Palladium Gold Alloy
Platinum Palladium Gold Powder Platinum Sulfate Platinum(II) Cyanide Potassium Copper(I) Cyanide
Potassium Cyanide Potassium Disulfate Potassium Ferricyanide Potassium Ferrocyanide Solution
Potassium Hexahydroxoantimonate(V) Potassium Pyrophosphate Potassium Sulfate Potassium Tetracyanoplatinate(II) Trihydrate
Potassium Thiocyanate Potassium Thiosulfate Praseodymium Sulfate Prussian Blue Soluble
Rhenium Metal Rhodium Metal Ruthenium Metal Ruthenium(III) Nitrosylsulfate
Silver Cyanide Silver Metal Silver Potassium Cyanide Silver Thiocyanate
Sodium Cyanide Sodium Ferricyanide Sodium Ferrocyanide Decahydrate Sodium Sulfate
Sodium Thiocyanate Sodium Thiosulfate Pentahydrate Tetraammineplatinum(II) Hydrogen Phosphate Tetramethylammonium Ferricyanide
Thallium Sulfate Tin Gold Alloy Tin Metal Tin(II) Sulfate
Tin(IV) Sulfate Zinc Aluminum Alloy Zinc Ammonium Chloride Zinc Cyanide
Zinc Metal Zinc Nickel Alloy Zinc Sulfate