We talk with Eric Svenson Sr., president of Plating Resources, about the development of a new and safe way to add sulfate to hexavalent chrome plating baths, Buffered Sulfate Adjuster.

The product can be used for both hard and decorative plating, either when making up a new solution or when raising the sulfate level in an existing bath. Traditionally the sulfate has been increased using hazardous concentrated sulfuric acid.

Svenson says hexavalent chrome baths require a small amount of sulfate in order to deposit chromium. The sulfate ion (SO4) is a true catalyst as it’s not consumed in the electrochemical reaction. The amount needed varies with the bath type but is generally a ratio of chromic acid: sulfate between 80 – 260:1, with 100:1 being typical for a standard bath without any other catalyst. The traditional way to add sulfate is by using sulfuric acid. But there’s a problem because sulfuric acid is:

  • Very corrosive and dangerous to store and handle.
  • Very exothermic, which means it gives off heat whenever added to a water-based solution like a chrome bath. 
  • Very concentrated and difficult to measure accurately. This makes it incredibly easy to overshoot the sulfate needed for its desired ratio, and adding too much really messes up the bath.

Go HERE to read the article we wrote on this product.

Visit www.plating.com for additional information.


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