Modeling the Electroplating of Hexavalent Chromium

N. Obaid[1], R. Sivakumaran[1], J. Lui[1], A. Okunade[1]
[1]University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada

This project modeled an industrial chromium plating process for automotive components. The process was modeled via the COMSOL Multiphysics® Electrodeposition Module. The simulation examined the effect of solution conductivity, electrode spacing, and anode height utilizing a factorial design approach. A sensitivity analysis was used to study the effect of these variables on the thickness value at the midpoint, as well as the non-uniformity of the plated surface. The results concluded that the variables selected for this study had a substantial impact on the overall thickness value as well as the non-uniformity. The most to least significant variables were solution conductivity, anode-cathode spacing, and anode height, respectively. The model and factorial design were used to generate a numerical relationship between the variables.