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Hardness of Gold Used For Gold Electroplating


Gold electroplating makes gold shine even brighter! Gold is one of the most precious metals utilized for creating stunning jewelry. Gold plating, on the other hand, is a process that can make any metal look like gold by providing that shine and luster. In fact, gold plating is most often used for decorative purposes. The process of electroplating gold requires application of a thin layer of gold on the surface of any object or jewelry or metal. The norm is to apply this thin layer of gold on copper or silverwares. One of the important aspects of electroplating gold is the hardness of gold used for the purpose.

Hardness of Gold Electroplating

Gold electroplating is used on different objects, varying from electrical contacts and connectors to architectural fittings, jewelry, and medals, among others. Gold plating is used primarily to increase the life of the object or metal and to protect it from water or air corrosion. Gold is one of the best electrical conductors and can function over a wide range of temperatures. Hence it is often used as the desired form of plating on electrical connectors.

Gold Electroplating is done using gold of different quality of hardness and this depends entirely on the object to be electroplated. There are 4 different qualities, which are:

Grade A: The softest quality of gold is classified under Grade A gold electroplating. Grade A gold is considered the purest form of gold and contains 99.9 percent gold. Grade A gold measures around 90 or even less on the Knoop hardness scale, which measures micro hardness. This quality of gold is normally used in semiconductor applications.

Grade B: Grade B quality of gold used in gold electroplating measures from 91 to 129 on the Knoop hardness scale. This is the perfect level of hardness required for gold plating silver, copper, or bronze jewelry. Gold plating of jewelry requires the quality of gold to be of medium hardness and anything less than 90 on the hardness scale can wear off if the jewelry is being used daily. Application of Grade B gold plating makes jewelry scratch resistant and durable.

Grade C: Grade C is a quality of gold used in Gold Electroplating and measures between 130 and 200 on the Knoop hardness scale. This type of gold plating is normally used for decorative plating as well as general metal plating. Since the gold is not of pure quality, it might wear off over a period of time. At temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, discoloration can also occur. Discoloration is primarily due to small amounts of nickel and cobalt, which is added to gold.

Grade D: Grade D is considered the hardest quality of gold and also the most impure form. It measures 201 or above on the Knoop hardness scale. The hardness of this type of gold is caused by other metals that are present or added to the gold for enabling gold electroplating.

Different grades of gold are used on different objects and metals based on their inherent qualities. The color of the plating can vary from light yellow to deep orange and it depends on the process of gold electroplating used. Gold plating increases tarnish resistance and corrosion resistance in objects like jewelry and electrical components.

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