Electroplating 101

A Small Introduction to Plating and Coating

Nickel plating

Nickel is a silver white, hard metal with satin to bright luster. It can be plated uniformly in recesses, blind holes and cavities, does not build up on edges, and has very high wear endurance. Higher phosphorus variations provide superior corrosion resistance. Nickel is often applied as a base layer for its leveling, smoothing and barrier characteristics which provide resistance to attack of some base metals by electrolytic metals such as cyanide copper or silver. Nickel is a hard metal with generally poor ductility that is not recommended for applications where part flexure is required.

Note: As electroless nickel plating finishes become brighter, they become harder and less ductile. Bright electroless nickel plating finishes are not recommended if parts are intended for flexure applications or will be bent or crimped in manufacturing operations subsequent to electroless nickel plating.

Electroless Nickel plating - corrosion inhibitor

As a corrosion inhibitor, nickel is used to protect iron, copper, or zinc alloys against corrosive attack in rural, industrial or marine atmospheres depending upon the thickness of the nickel deposit.

Nickel, with its leveling and pore-filling characteristic, is also an excellent undercoat for the precious metals by reducing the total amount of the precious metal required to achieve performance specifications electroless nickel plating.

Electroless Nickel plating - engineering purposes

Electroless nickel plating intended for engineering purposes is used for wear resistance, abrasion resistance and such corrosion protection of parts as the specified thickness of the nickel plating provides. Heavy deposits of the electroless nickel plating may be used for build up of worn or undersized parts, or for salvage purposes, and to provide protection against corrosive chemical environments.

Mil SpecQQ-N-290 Nickel Plating (Electrodeposited) describes several classes and thickness grades

Nickel plating - Classes & Thickness grades

  1. Corrosion protective plating
  2. Engineering plating

Thickness Grades:

  1. 0.0016 inch
  2. 0.0012 inch
  3. 0.0010 inch
  4. 0.0008 inch
  5. 0.0006 inch
  6. 0.0004 inch
  7. 0.0002 inch

The use of these class and thickness grades provides a standard nomenclature for developing our specifications for you that are tailored to your nickel plating requirements.

Watts Nickel per QQ-N-290A - Nickel plating

Watts nickel is an electrolytic system that, as a component of our SuperBright process, provides very bright, decorative finishes. Watts nickel also provides corrosion resistance according to thickness, good abrasion resistance, and a low coefficient of thermal expansion. Watts nickel has a relatively low tensile strength and hardness and relatively high internal stress and therefor is not recommended in engineering applications where part deformation or flexure may occur.

(Medium & High Phosphorus Content)

Electroless systems are applied to the surface of base metals by a chemical reaction mechanism that does not require electrical current. The benefit of this process is that electrical flux density fields do not govern metal deposition thickness. Flux fields tend to be non-uniform and therefore can result in non-uniform thickness of the electrodeposits. Electroless systems have superior hole filling and leveling characteristics, which make them ideal as a first layer for almost all other electroplated, finishes. Depending of thickness and phosphorous content, electroless nickel plating is an excellent corrosion inhibitor. High-phos electroless nickel plating system specifications were developed by the NATO as a result of their experience with aggressive corrosion conditions. Electroless nickel plating systems have hardness and internal stress levels at the mid-range of all nickel systems and therefore should be specified carefully when subsequent part deformation or flexure will occur.

Sulfamate Nickel Plating

Sulfamate nickel provides the lowest hardness, lowest internal stress and highest ductility of all the nickel plating systems. The finish is dull; this is an engineering finish and not a decorative finish. Sulfamate nickel has excellent solderability good corrosion resistance. The high ductility of sulfamate nickel makes this product an excellent candidate for applications where part flexure or deformation, such as crimping, will occur.

Taken from ProPlate.com

Contact Us

For all quotes, consulting, questions, etc.
Contact: Mike Reeder
E-mail: michaeldreeder@hotmail.com

Phone: 713-645-6921
Fax: 713-645-3583
Mobile: 832-722-6703

Email Request for Quote or drawings to:
Feel free to call my cell phone after normal business hours. We offer 24X365 service when our customers require it. If you have questions about any coating, CALL. We are the coating experts on your team.

If Mike is not available, other points of contact:
Carlos Palma (VP, Operations)

Lisette Rosas (Office Manager)

As a metal finishing engineer, I will consult with you on which coating or specification best meets your requirements. If you do not find what you are looking for on this website, please call me. We are always looking for new challenges and will invest in new capabilities as demanded by the market. If we cannot perform the coating process, I will refer you to one of our esteemed competitors who can help you.

Oh yeah, Se habla Espanol! Everybody speaks Spanish here except the Canadian immigrant (our Senior Coatings Chemist).

Mike Reeder

Physical Address:
Delta Specialty Coatings LLC
5738 Heiser Street
Houston, TX 77087

Mailing Address:
PO Box 87460
Houston, TX 77287-7460