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We’ve written about tank plating on this blog before – the process of plating a metal onto metal items that have been placed into plating tanks. For that process to work, the items to be plated must be electrically charged – in other words, they must be made of metal.
So that leads to an interesting question:
How can metals be plated onto surfaces of non-metallic materials like plastics, ceramics, or composites?
You have doubtless seen non-metallic items that have been plated with metal – they are nearly everywhere. There are metal-plated disposable plastic drink cups, plastic radio knobs, toys with bright shiny metallic coatings, and many other items.
Let’s look at some of the ways that precious and other metals can be coated onto non-metallic surfaces.