The Zinc electroplating process involves formation of an electrolytic cell consisting of two metals that
form electrodes, then passing an electric current through the electrolyte .The Zinc is the anode and the
steel to be plated is the cathode. The zinc ions travel through the solution and attach themselves to the
surface of the substrate forming a thin plate.
Zinc plating is rarely sufficient for exposed outdoor use, especially in a marine environment, but the
process can be used as an initial preparation for other processes to follow, like powder coating. No other
corrosion resistant coating will be as inexpensive as zinc plating though.
Items that have been zinc plated have a shiny, silvery appearance known as zinc clear or a golden/ yellow
appearance, known as zinc yellow. They are fairly corrosion resistant, but will rust if the coating is
destroyed or if exposed to a marine environment.
Zinc plating or electroplating is a thinner coating compared to hot dip galvanizing making it unsuitable for
outdoor applications unless it has been covered by other processes like powder coating.
Zinc electroplating maintains a dominant position among other electroplating process options.