What is the Trivalent chromium

Trivalent chromium

Trivalent chromium plating, also known as tri-chromeCr3+, and chrome (III) plating, uses chromium sulfate or chromium chloride as the main ingredient. Trivalent chromium plating is an alternative to hexavalent chromium in certain applications and thicknesses (e.g. decorative plating).

A trivalent chromium plating process is similar to the hexavalent chromium plating process, except for the bath chemistry and anode composition. There are three main types of trivalent chromium bath configurations:

  • A chloride- or sulfate-based electrolyte bath using graphite or composite anodes, plus additives to prevent the oxidation of trivalent chromium to the anodes.

  • A sulfate-based bath that uses lead anodes surrounded by boxes filled with sulfuric acid (known as shielded anodes), which keeps the trivalent chromium from oxidizing at the anodes.

  • A sulfate-based bath that uses insoluble catalytic anodes, which maintains an electrode potential that prevents oxidation.

The trivalent chromium-plating process can plate the workpieces at a similar temperature, rate and hardness, as compared to hexavalent chromium. Plating thickness ranges from 0.005 to 0.05 mils (0.13 to 1.27 μm).