Monday, June 1, 2009

Nickel Tungsten Alloy replace Chrome

June 1, 2009

Ever since the 1940s, chrome has been used to add a protective coating and shiny luster to a wide range of metal products, from bathroom fixtures to car bumpers. Chrome adds beauty and durability, but those features come at a heavy cost. Though it's cheap to produce and harmless to consumers, the industrial process to create it is dangerous for workers and pollutes the environment.

Mr Christopher Schuh MIT associate professor of materials science and engineering said that "People have been trying to replace it for a very long time. The problem is that it's the only plated metal coating that has all of these properties, hardness, long lasting shine and corrosion protection."

Mr Schuh's team has shown that nickel tungsten alloys remain stable indefinitely at room temperature and are highly resistant to decomposition when heated. They can also be made harder and longer lasting than chrome. In addition, the electroplating process is more efficient than that for chrome, because multiple layers can be applied in one step, which could save money for manufacturers.

Mr Schuh and his colleagues have described the new process in several journal articles published over the past few years, and Schuh recently gave an overview of the technology in the spring 2009 Wulff Lecture, sponsored by MIT's Department of Materials Science & Engineering. Read more...

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