NADCAP Gold electroplating is a process whereby an electric current is employed in order to bond an ultra-thin layer of gold onto any object that is made of any other different metal. Circuit elements called cathodes and anodes and an acidic solution called an electrolyte solution, containing dissolved gold compounds and catalyst chemicals, are used to create the coating, which may be mere microns in thickness. A tank of an inert material like glass or plastic is used to contain the solution.
Basically, the electroplating service begins with some preparation of what is known as an electrolyte solution. Where NADCAP gold electroplating is involved, the chemical bath will almost always contain mostly of water but will be acidified through the addition of phosphoric acid before gold is added into the solution in the form of gold chloride. In most cases there will be need of catalyst such as potassium cyanide whose main business will be to enhance the transfer process of gold ions towards the object that is being plated in addition to increasing the conductivity levels of the solution. This is extremely important because it is the flow of the current through this solution that will create the reaction that is required to bond the gold and its target object.
During the NADCAP gold electroplating the target object will be connected to one part of the electrical circuit that is known as the cathode which is analogous to the battery’s positive terminal. As the gold salt compounds in the electrolyte solution deposit gold onto the target object, they lose electrons which form the electric current. The other end of the circuit is called an anode and is made of metal. The anode is the analog of the negative terminal on a battery and the current flows from the anode into the electrolyte solution.
For other types of the electroplating service, the anode is normally made of the same material such as is being deposited on the target object. However, in NADCAP gold electroplating, the anode is almost always made of stainless steel or graphite but especially titanium or another metal that is known as columbium but different other methods can also be used. The cathode with the target object and the anode are submerged in the electrolyte solution and the current is introduced.
The process of NADCAP Gold electroplating typically only takes a few minutes but when you need thicker layers of gold you may have to take longer. As an item plated with gold ages, atoms of the underlying metal may gradually mix with and migrate through the layer of gold to the surface, a process that can take many years. For this reason, objects made of copper or silver that are to be electroplated with gold are often electroplated with another metal first.