Introduction

IRON has been electrodeposited for many years. One of the earliest references to iron electroplating is in Langbein's Electrodeposition of Metals, published in 1894 as the English translation of a German treatise. In that translation there is a reference to "Mr. Alfred Smee (who made) many discoveries in the deposition of antimony, platinum, gold, silver, iron, copper and zinc. In publishing his experiments, in 1841, he originated the very appropriate term 'electro-metallurgy' for the process of working in metals by means of electrolysis" (Ref 1). A paper published in 1930 was titled "The Production of Electrolytic Iron Printing Plates" (Ref 2). It appears, though, that the largest body of published papers and patents were written in the 1950s and 1960s, although a small number of new papers on this topic are published every year.

Iron has been electroplated from a variety of electrolytes. These include chloride, sulfate, sulfamate, fluoroborate, sulfonate, and various combinations of these electrolytes. Perhaps the widest use of iron plating has been in electroforming, where thicknesses of 6 mm (0.25 in.) are common. The bath parameters of these electroplating solutions are as varied as the parts that are plated in them, and the resulting coatings have widely divergent characteristics according to the specific characteristics desired in the finished product.

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