For industrial purposes, metals are used to provide a coating to the workpiece. Each metal has its own unique properties and can provide a litany of benefits to that workpiece. One of the methods of coating is gold electroplating.
When adding gold, there is an electrical and chemical process known as electroplating. It is also referred to using the periodic symbol for gold, so you may see it called Au electroplating or Au plating. But what is it and how does it work?
The process of gold electroplating is one in which the gold (or another metal for another type of electroplating) is coated with a thin layer of another type of metal. This is done using an electrical current.
The metals partially dissolve and a bond is created between the two layers. The layers are still ultra-thin, however, typically around 0.0002 inches in thickness. The bonded metal then becomes permanent on the surface. It won’t separate or fall, though it can be worn away with frequent use. Mostly, this new layer is meant to provide resistance to corrosion, damage, and rust.
How it Works
It all starts with a bath of metal salt. The component that you plate would get immersed in that bath and then the electric current is run through it. The current dissolves these salts and then the molecules from the gold ride the current, being directly deposited into the component. The thickness depends on how long it is left in the salt bath.