Gray, Theodore
April 2006
Popular Science;Apr2006, Vol. 268 Issue 4, p78
This article presents an overview of electroplating car bumpers. Bumpers are stamped out of steel and electroplated with a thousandth of an inch of nickel--for rustproofing--followed by 65 billionths of an inch of mirror-bright chromium--for shine. Everything you see is chromium, yet it represents no more than a millionth the weight of the bumper. Electroplating uses electricity to turn dissolved ions into solid metal bonded to a surface. Bumpers sit in a vat of acid containing dissolved, positively charged nickel ions. A current is run through the solution, forcing negatively charged electrons from the bumper into each nickel ion, neutralizing it.


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