Electroplating is the process of coating an electrically conductive object with a layer of metal using electrical current. Typically this process is used to deposit an adherent surface layer of a metal to a substance lacking that property.
Electroplating is used in many types of industries for both functional and decorative purposes. One well-known example of chrome-plating steel parts is on automobiles. Some steel bumpers become more resistant to corrosion after they've been electroplated with nickel and chromium.
Electroplating can also be used to silver plate copper and brass electrical connectors. Silver tarnishes at a much slower rate and has a higher conductivity than other metals. Another benefit of silver is lower surface electrical resistance which results in a more efficient electrical connection. Silver plating is also popular for RF connectors because radio frequency current flows primarily on the surface of its conductor. This allows the connector to have the strength of brass and the conductivity of silver.
Another related process is called brush electroplating. This is a process in which localized areas or entire items are plated using a brush soaked in plating solution. The brush is connected to the positive side of a low voltage direct-current power source and the item to be plated connected to the negative. The brush is dipped in plating solution then applied to the item. Moving the brush continuously will create an even distribution of the plating material.
Brush electroplating has several advantages including portability, ability to plate items that can not be tank plated, little or no masking requirements and low plating solution volume requirements.