Preventing Damage to Chrome Finish

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Chrome is a type of surface finish wherein a thin layer of chromium is electroplated onto plastic or metal objects boost its resistance against corrosion and wear. It also gives the electroplated objects a nice shiny metallic finish.

 

A very thin film of chromium oxide forms on the surface of the chrome when it is exposed to air. The oxide layer seals the surface of the chrome and prevents further oxidation from occurring.

 

Yet there are particular instances that cancels the capacity of the chromium oxide in shielding chrome and the metal object from corrosion. Using very aggressive cleaners can remove the oxide on the surface. A new layer of oxide will be formed after cleaning as the exposed chromium reacts with the oxygen in the air. The repeated oxidation reactions can cause the chrome layer to become thinner over time. Instead of cleaners, lubricating oil can be used for cleaning chrome. The oil loosens up dirt with without removing the protective oxide.

 

Chips and scrapes on the chrome surface that exposes the metal underneath is very problematic. The exposed metal will rapidly oxidize. In the case of steel, the iron from the steel and the oxygen in the air forms rust.

 

The chipped or scraped area must be cleaned from any rust and recoated with chrome. The recoating process is complicated and can be very expensive. That is why it is important to prevent chipping or scratching of the chrome surface.  A lubrication product like oil can be used to improve the lubricity of the chrome surface to minimize the risk of chipping when other objects come in contact with it. The high lubricity means that objects are more likely to slip on top of the chrome instead of digging into it.

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