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Old 07-09-2020, 05:12 AM
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Safety of chrome and acid testing

It's a bit of a challenge to buy stainless steel chains here. Usually I need to order from overseas and it takes 3-4 weeks to arrive. Chrome plated chains, however, are easy.

I understand that some types of chrome may contain a small amount of zinc. Most of the research I've done indicates that chrome plated materials are of "tolerable" safety to birds which is not totally reassuring.

So I did an acid test on every metal that will go in my cage. Most were fine, but found a few eye bolts that had a zinc reaction and have thus been marked for replacement.

My chrome plated chains however showed no reaction so it would appear to be safe. But is that truly the case? Can chrome contain enough zinc to be dangerous while still showing no reaction to acid?

(These chains are the kind used for dog collars and leashes if that helps).
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Old 07-09-2020, 08:27 AM
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Re: Safety of chrome and acid testing

Typical chrome plating is chrome over a nickle layer over a copper layer. At least thats how those shiny motorcycle parts are made. Chrome plating is usually very thin, like 0.0001" or less. Thats one ten thousandth of an inch. The copper layer evens out the surface of the part, but is very soft. The nickle is much harder and finally the chrome layer which is very shiny and can be buffed to a bright reflective shine. Any zinc present would be considered an impurity. It may be from contamination of the electroplating baths or even a zinc electrode someone dropped into the plating tank and was not removed. If your not getting a zinc reaction the chain is likely safe.

Keep in mind the reagents used to spot check for different metals have a shelf life of a year. After that you may not get a reaction . My company uses these a LOT.
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Old 07-09-2020, 08:44 AM
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Re: Safety of chrome and acid testing

Great info. Thank you!
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Old 07-09-2020, 08:59 AM
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Re: Safety of chrome and acid testing

I don't know enough about acid testing, but does this also test for metals other than zinc? Like copper and lead etc?

If you have a sacrificial chain link,you could hit it with a hammer to rough it up a bit and see how hard it is to expose what's under it---If your bird chews the chain, that could be an issue depending on how long they do it and if there is and wear and tear on it from suspending heavy objects.

Last edited by noodles123; 07-09-2020 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 07-09-2020, 10:24 AM
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Re: Safety of chrome and acid testing

Good idea to test what's under the chrome plating. No idea if the acid produces a reaction with other metals tho.
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