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Chrome Testing

At California Chrome Wheel Inc. we continually strive to make improvements in our chrome plating process in an effort to provide not only the best-looking product but also the highest quality and best resistance to corrosion possible.

We took what we believed to be one of the top decorative chrome platters in the industry and went on a head to head comparison. This testing was done by the top independent electro chrome plating testing facility in the country. Not only do they test products manufactured in this country but worldwide as well. The testing was done as a blind study with no indication until completion which wheel was plated by which manufacture. These test results listed below are an evaluation by an unbiased third party of one of the most well-known experts in their field.

Here is what they found

CASS Test Results: Comparison - CalChrome vs. Brand-X

Testing TimeCalChrome Chrome Electro Plating CASS Test ResultsBrand-X Chrome Electro Plating CASS Test Results
22hrs
CalChrome Wheel after 22 hours of CASS testing. Findings: Wheel exhibited no visible significant changes.

Conforms at twenty two hours

Brand-X Wheel after 22 hours of CASS testing. Findings: Wheel exhibited slight loss of chrome and slight blistering with corrosion to base metal at the windows low current density area.

Does not conform at twenty two hours

44hrs
CalChrome Wheel after 44 hours of CASS testing. Findings: Wheel exhibited no visible significant changes.

Conforms at twenty two hours

Brand-X Wheel after 44 hours of CASS testing. Findings: Wheel exhibited moderate loss of chrome and moderate blistering with corrosion to base metal at the windows low and mid current density

Does not conform at twenty two hours

66hrs
CalChrome Wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing. Findings: Wheel exhibited minor corrosion spots that while visible are still within CASS testing standards.

Conforms at twenty two hours

Brand-X Wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing. Findings: Wheel exhibited heavy loss of chrome and heavy blistering with corrosion to base metal at the windows low and mid current density areas.

Does not conform at twenty two hours

CalChrome

photos of CalChrome wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing, this wheel passed three 22 hour sessions.

photos of CalChrome wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing, this wheel passed three 22 hour sessions photos of CalChrome wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing, this wheel passed three 22 hour sessions
photos of CalChrome wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing, this wheel passed three 22 hour sessions photos of CalChrome wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing, this wheel passed three 22 hour sessions
photos of CalChrome wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing, this wheel passed three 22 hour sessions photos of CalChrome wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing, this wheel passed three 22 hour sessions

Brand-X

photos of Brand-X wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing, this wheel failed before the 22 hour mark.

photos of Brand-X wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing, this wheel passed three 22 hour sessions photos of Brand-X wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing, this wheel passed three 22 hour sessions
photos of Brand-X wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing, this wheel passed three 22 hour sessions photos of Brand-X wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing, this wheel passed three 22 hour sessions
photos of Brand-X wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing, this wheel passed three 22 hour sessions photos of Brand-X wheel after 66 hours of CASS testing, this wheel passed three 22 hour sessions

STEP Test Results: CalChrome vs. Brand-X

Site Part #CopperSemi Bright
Nickel
STEPBright
Nickel
STEPParticle
Nickel
Total NickelChrome
Thickness µm
inches
µm
inches
mV µm
inches
mV µm
inches
µm
inches
µm
inches
CalChrome
Electroplate
68.2
0.0027
18.54
0.00074
70 10.67
0.00043
10 1.02
0.000041
30.23
0.0012
0.14
0.0000056
Brand-X
Electroplate
37.2
0.0015
NONE
DETECTED
NONE
DETECTED
16.76
0.000067
NONE
DETECTED
NONE
DETECTED
16.76
0.00067
0.08
0.0000032
CalChrome Electroplate vs. Brand-X comparision

Chrome Plating Test Procedure: CASS

An ASTM salt fog cabinet

The automotive industry approved method for the testing of decorative electro plated parts is called the CASS Test -- Copper-Accelerated Acetic-Acid Salt Spray (ASTM Standard B368, B117). It was developed specifically for use with decorative, electro deposited nickel/chromium and copper / nickel / chromium coatings. Use of the test has improved the quality of electroplated parts and led to the development of new and superior electroplating processes.

CASS Testing Fog Booth
Image of Non-CalChrome aftermarket wheels after testing

A standard ASTM B 117 salt solution of 5 parts (by weight) of salt to 95 parts water is prepared. Reagent grade copper chloride dihydrate is then added at a rate of 1 gram to 4 liters of salt solution. The solution is mixed and atomized in a cabinet maintained 120° F (49° C). Fog is collected and tested, and the salt-copper solution is adjusted to a pH of 3.1 to 3.3 by adding reagent grade glacial acetic acid.

When ready for the test cabinet, chrome plated wheels are cleaned with an appropriate cleaning or solvent solution. Samples are typically placed at a 15 degree angle from vertical, however components for aerospace or automotive are generally oriented in the "as used" position. Samples are located so they don’t touch and the condensate from one sample does not drip onto another sample.

Typical exposure lengths in hours are: 2, 4, 6, 12, 22, 48, 96, etc. The automotive industry standard calls for samples to be subjected to three 22-hour exposures, with evaluations between each interval. These inspections at regular intervals reveals whether or not a product passes at 22 hours, 44 hours and 66 hours.

If the sample passes the 66 hour exposure mark with no cracks, blisters, loss of chromium, corrosion or stains, it is considered acceptable for OEM use.

Chrome Plating Test Procedure: STEP

Chrome Plating - STEP Testing Equipment

The ability of a multi layer nickel deposit to enhance corrosion resistance is a function of the difference in the electrode potentials of the nickel layers (as measured individually at a fixed current density in a given electrolyte versus a reference electrode) and the thicknesses of the layers. The potential differences must be sufficient to cause the bright nickel or top layer to corrode preferentially and sacrificially with respect to the semi-bright nickel layer beneath it.

This test procedure allows the measurement of these potential differences directly on an electroplated part rather than on separate foil specimens in such a way that time determines the thickness of each layer, while the potential difference between nickel layers is an indication of the corrosion resistance of the total nickel deposit.

CalChrome Chrome Testing Summary

CalChrome Dodge Magnum SRT-8 Wheel Plated by CalChrome

What makes CalChrome electro plating different is the base metals under the chrome, including Semi Bright Nickel, and Micro Particle Nickel. These tests were performed using average automotive wheels plated using standard cycle times. During this initial testing our electroplating with the added semi bright and particle nickel made the sixty six hour designation which fulfils the OEM requirements set forth by Chrysler, Ford and GM requirements. With a slight increase in the cycle times our CalChrome electroplate now far exceeds the OEM specs.

What does this means to you as the customer?

Unlike most chrome platters in the industry who are shortening cycle times to reduce cost, we are adding additional corrosion protecting metals and increasing the existing cycle times to provide much more protection to your wheel.

About the Testing Standards

Logo of the American Society for Testing and Materials

ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) International is one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world - a trusted source for technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services. Known for their high technical quality and market relevancy, ASTM International standards have an important role in the information infrastructure that guides design, manufacturing and trade in the global economy.

ASTM is recognized globally as the premier developer and provider of voluntary consensus standards, related technical information, and services that among other things contribute to the reliability of materials, products, systems and services.

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