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Hello,

I work as a chemical engineer for a military contractor in Southern MO. We


produce large transport equipment primairly made out of steel and aluminum.
Some stainless and other materials. We apply wet solvent paints most of the
time. We purchase some hydraulic cylinders from a vendor. The shafts on the
cylinders are chrome plated to QQ-C-320 [link is to spec at TechStreet] (maybe SAE-
AMS-QQ-C-324).

We are seeing a ring form around the shafts that looks orange to begin with. We
are also seeing some pitting in the same area. To the naked eye the pitting looks
black, but under abour 30 magnification it looks a little irridescent. The popular
theory is that the chrome is corrodeing. Is this possible? To me it looks like we
have some holidays that are allowing the under lying steel corrode. As the
corrosion continues, it is delaminating the chrome from the bottom.

Any opinions on this? Has anyone ever seen chrome corrode? What could cause
it? What color would the oxidation be?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated!

Kelly L Draper
Systems & Electronics, Inc - West Plains, MO, USA

Some additional info. The plating in in accordance with the military standard QQ-
C-320, Class II Type I. Question- Does anyone know where I can buy the ferroxyl
solution used in this spec to test for porosity. It is made up of:

Potassium ferricyanide (K3Fe(CN)6) 1 gm


Sodium Chloride (NaCl)10 gms
Agar 10 gms
Water (distilled or deionized) to make 1 litre

Sorry I have no subscripts on those numbers.

Thanks again!

Kelly Draper
Systems & Electronics, Inc - West Plains, MO, USA

+
Yes, chrome does oxidize, but in fact any chrome you look at is already oxidized.
No, chrome does not discolor. You are surely seeing rust from the substrate
steel. Engineering chrome (hard chrome) does not provide a lot of rust protection
because it is always cracked; depending on the environment the cyclinder rods
will see, it may be necessary to have an underplate of nickel, electroless nickel,
or something else.

It is difficult to say, without looking at the exposure history, whether the chrome
plating is defective or is being asked to do a corrosion prevention task it is not
capable of. But poor base metal prep, or poor plating may be causing excess
porosity.

Still, you'd need a terrible amount of rust before it would account for the chrome
peeling, so I would lean towards believing that maybe the chrome was improperly
applied, with a current break or bad surface prep, and you have laminar plating
and no real adhesion.

Sorry, I don't know where to get supplies like ferroxyl solution.

Ted Mooney, P.E.


finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey