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  1. #11
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Review: BLACKFIRE Metal Sealant

    Quote Originally Posted by 57Rambler View Post

    I'll jump in on this because in my early days as an engineer in the auto business (before I became a safety systems designer) I worked in the exterior trim group and mainly with decorative moldings. Initially I worked with real chrome-plated moldings, and later, anodized aluminum moldings replaced the chrome moldings due to the enviro concerns with the chrome plating process (as a side note, the plant where these were made was demo'd in the early 2000's and the enviro cleanup bill exceeded $400M ... draining sludge ponds, removing contaminated soil, etc.).

    As far as today's moldings, they are either electrolytically anodized aluminum or the aforementioned plastic "chrome". Anodized aluminum moldings (and other trim) can be used in either interior or exterior applications, while the plastic "chrome's" usage (ie. interior or exterior) is determined by the method by which it was formed. Interior plastic "chrome" is produced by the vacuum metalization process, which is not an electrolytic process but rather akin to a vapor deposition of the chrome on to the plastic surface. Exterior plastic "chrome" is indeed produced by an electrolytic process, but because plastic is not conductive, the plastic must first be "seeded" with a metal to make it conductive. Typically, the plastic is then electroplated with copper before the final step where it is electroplated with chrome.

    When it comes to care, I highly concur with the previous warnings to not use anything abrasive on any of the types of plastic "chrome". Anodized aluminum moldings are a little more forgiving but you still do not want to use anything too abrasive or you will damage/remove the protective oxide layer that has been electro-deposited on the surface.

    If you've got old-school, real chrome on a mid-70's or earlier vehicle, chances are good that you have nickel (2 layers) + chrome (1 layer) and about the only thing you can do to hurt that is to take stainless steel to it (an old "trick" to remove rust which backfires).

    Much good stuff. Thank you for sharing.


    Mike Phillips
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  2. #12
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Review: BLACKFIRE Metal Sealant

    Quote Originally Posted by 57Rambler View Post

    Initially I worked with real chrome-plated moldings, and later, anodized aluminum moldings replaced the chrome moldings due to the enviro concerns with the chrome plating process (as a side note, the plant where these were made was demolished in the early 2000's and the environmental cleanup bill exceeded $400M ... draining sludge ponds, removing contaminated soil, etc.).


    I've been to a chrome shop before and given a tour where the process was explained and it was very eye-opening. And the amount of chemicals used for the chroming process was substantial.

    I think this is why many chrome shops have closed. And my guess is we won't see any NEW chrome shops opening as the cost of running the shop in an environmentally manner plus the cost of complying with U.S. Government regulations and laws will be too cost-prohibitive.

    On the flipside of this coin, I think there are other countries that don't have the stringent laws and regulations America uses to be eco-friendly to the world, that will fill the void and the pollution will simply go unchecked.



    Mike Phillips
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