We recently worked on a project for which a wear and corrosion resistant material was required. Stainless Steel was the obvious first choice, but due to cost restrictions it was kicked out. We then began looking at various plating processes, eventually converging on chrome plating. There are 2 kinds of chrome plating: decorative and hard chrome. Decorative chrome is sometimes referred to as nickel-chrome plating because of the nickel substrate applied before the chrome. Decorative chrome provides a brilliant shine as well as corrosion resistance. It also increases wear resistance by a small amount.
Hard chrome plating eventually won due to its combination of excellent wear resistance as well as good corrosion resistance. All chrome plating is actually the same hardness, the only difference being the thickness of chrome applied to the substrate (which is often steel, though it can be other metals such as titanium and aluminum). Hard chrome plating is usually applied in thicknesses of .0002″ to .004″, while decorative chrome plating is applied much thinner (.00005″ – .001″).