679 252 083 josep.duran@udg.edu

P3: Pujada de Sant Martí (Cromats Ensesa)

Third stop

Pujada de Sant Martí (Cromats Ensesa)

The company Cromats Ensesa was founded in 1947 by Mr. Joan Ensesa, the father of the current owner. The company began as an auto body repair shop. With the explosion of plastic materials in the 1970s and their use in the automotive world, the workshop began to repair old pieces such as motorcycles, cars, and lamps. Chromats Ensesa has also been responsible for the restoration of emblematic pieces, such as the angel that tops the bell tower of the Cathedral of Girona.
Chrome plating consists of creating a thin layer of chromium on a surface, which gives the piece a shiny appearance and provides greater chemical resistance. An electrolytic process is used to create this layer.
This process is based on the formation of ions, which are molecules or atoms with a positive or negative electric charge (cations and anions, respectively). At the first stop, we explained that an atom has a nucleus and electrons. Electrons are essential to describing the behavior of atoms and they influence most reactions, such as the formation of ions. For example, the electric current required for this electrolytic process is based on electron movement. Later on in the tour we will see other processes in which electrons are involved.
Cromats Ensesa. Photo Alex Ambit
Electrolytic process
Returning to the chrome plating process, a continuous current is circulated through a solution containing ions, which is called the electrolyte. In this case, the electrolyte is chromic acid, a molecule that breaks down to chromium, which is deposited on the piece to be coated, and oxygen, which is released on the other pole of the current.

Other processes that are carried out at this company are nickel and silver plating. There are also alloys such as bronze or brass. Alloys are mixtures of two or more metals and their purpose is to improve the qualities of the separate metals. Bronze is a mixture of copper and tin, and has many applications, ranging from the manufacture of weapons (Bronze Age) to bells. Brass contains bronze and zinc and is used in musical instruments and decorative pieces, for example.

Did you know?

Originally, the angel on the Cathedral was not an angel, but a figure that represented faith, and wore a blindfold over its eyes. When work on the current Gothic nave began, around the 14th century, the figure was placed at the cathedral’s provisional entrance. Later, in the 18th century, it was placed atop the current Renaissance bell tower. During the Napoleonic sieges, a French bullet decapitated the sculpture.

Not long ago, the figure, which had been damaged by weather over time and by bullets from different eras, was restored. Following popular wisdom, which had identified the sculpture as an angel for many years, it was given a head with open eyes.

Photo Sr. Joan Encesa