Colin Garfield Fink Pioneer In Electrochemical Field

Colin Garfield Fink – pioneer in electrochemical field

Colin Garfield Fink

Biography & contributions

Colin Garfield Fink was born in Hoboken, New Jersey on December 31, 1881

His research projects include

  • Usage of ductile tungsten for incandescent lamp filaments
  • Insoluble anode for electrowinning copper
  • Electrolytic process for the restoration of corroded ancient bronzes

He developed hot dipped aluminum coatings and commercial process for chromium plating

Electroplating process

Electroplating has, over recent decades, evolved from an art to an exact science. This development is seen as responsible for the ever-increasing number and widening types of applications of this branch of practical science and engineering.

Electroplating is a process that uses electrical current to reduce dissolved metal cations so that they form a coherent metal coating on an electrode. Electroplating is primarily used to change the surface properties of an object but may also be used to build up thickness on undersized parts or to form objects by electroforming.


First, a container is filled with a solution of a salt of the metal that is to form the coating.

For example, if copper is to form the coating, the solution will consist of copper sulfate will be mixed with water. This solution is called the electrolytic bath. The object to be plated is immersed in the bath. A metal bar, composed either of the metal that is to form the coating or of a metal that is not affected by the electrolytic bath, is also immersed in the bath. The entire apparatus is called an electrolytic cell.

The object to be coated is connected to the negative terminal of an electric battery or other source of direct current, and becomes the cathode. The metal bar is connected to the positive terminal of the electric power source and becomes the anode.

When electric power is applied, electrolysis of the electrolytic bath occurs. The bath gives up its metal content to the surface of the cathode. This coating forms an alloy with the metal of the cathode, and adheres to the cathode after the cathode has been removed from the bath. As the electroplating process continues, the metal salts in the bath are utilized in the process.

The longer the process continues, the greater the thickness of the coating on the cathode. If the cathode and the metal with which it is to be coated will not combine into an alloy, the cathode is first plated with a metal that will form an alloy with it. The plated cathode is then plated with the desired metal.

Types of electroplating

  • Mass Plating
  • Rack plating
  • Continuous plating
  • Line plating

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