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Is my bike ok?
15,211 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the link dude. I've been doing some research on this and found out about something called hydrogen embrittlement. Apparently it's a phenomenon that happens whenever you expose a piece of metal to electrolysis. Hydrogen atoms become trapped in the pores of the metal and cause it to become brittle. Its supposedly only left with a fraction of its former strength. The idea is to bake the part to release the trapped hydrogen, but for how long or at what temp, I.still don't know. Considering I'm wanting to plate my spokes.for my rims I really don't want this to happen. Still researching...

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3,523 Posts
Yikes, that would be unpleasant to say the least. Especially for spokes!

Most info I've seen on electro plating pertains to jewelry or electronics, so I've never seen anybody address that.

27 Posts
I have zinc plated grade 8 bolts, which I use to hold my calipers on. They show no signs of weakness or other issues with oxidization.

They have been on the bike for 2 years now.

>> Exerpt from another sites post I made>>
Bought some new bolts to mount my calipers the other day, but forgot about asking for plated ones rather than Black Oxide finish.

Did some quick research on the inter-gazette and decided i would zinc plate them, rather then drive all the way back to Dartmouth!!!

Mild Acid - White Vinegar (5%)
Epsom Salts
Zinc Flashing from Kent
Steel wire
Power supply (or battery ~1 to 4 volts)

Optional Materials:
Muratic Acid (30%) - Canadian Tire

Use a wire wheel to clean of the black oxide coating on the fasteners/steel bits.
Pour enough vinegar in a glass or plastic jar, such that you can submerge the part to plate.
Add about 0.5 to 1.0 teaspoons epsom salts to the vinegar and 0.5 to 1.0 teaspoons sugar to the vinegar.
Cut a couple of small strips (5mm x 15mm) of the zinc flashing and drop them into the solution.

The vinegar is the acidic solution that will disassociate the zinc ions. Epsom Salts help the conductivity of the solution. Sugar acts as a "brightener" for the plating process. Basically a brightener limits the size of the zinc deposits, making a more uniform coating.

I played with the process a bit; I found the voltage controls the speed, but as speed is increased the deposits become non uniform. Also extra sugar helps with a uniform finish. Also, rather than a typical electrode setup, it must be considered that the Zinc ions transfer along a more or less direct path. This leave the back side of the piece bare, or minimally plated.

I wrapped my zinc flashing around the perimeter of the glass bottle, with a small tap extending out of the solution to hook to the positive terminal. The fastener was hung into the center of the bottle using a piece of STEEL wire, and the negative terminal was connected to the steel wire, outside the solution!

No copper wire should be used as this will decompose and start plating the fastener also.

Hooked Up.

Close Up.


Top bolt is my first try, middle bolt is the 2nd try, bottom is the final. The small black one on the left is how they started.
Used the wire wheel lightly to do a final clean on all of them!


4,653 Posts
Good info
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