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Removing electroless nickel plating from steel


Are there chemical ways of removing electroless nickel plating from steel?

And are there chemical ways of removing tin plate from steel?

The criteria for either system - must not "poison" the surface nor cause loss of steel. And must be quick.

Is there a dye check that can be used after treatment that will show the complete removal of either plating?

Joe Redinger
- Canada


Cyanide-based strippers are pretty good at complexing other metals while leaving steel untouched. But if you need something cyanide-free, you might want to talk to a specialist in nickel strippers, like Metalx [Lenoir, NC].

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey



You might check with Enthone, they make a line of nickel & E nickel strippers. If I recall correctly it is called "N Strip".

Good Luck

Paul D. Stransky, CEF
- Putnam, Connecticut


For high P EN, I like Metalx's strippers. Work well and tend to be cheaper and less of a pain to dispose.  

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


Please also see our FAQs on Stripping of Electroless Nickel.


pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey


This is in response to Mr. Redinger's 1997 letter asking whether there's a dye to check if a steel part has been stripped of Nickel or other plating. I post this message for the curious. Generally in time you'll develop an "eye" for when a part is stripped. However if you simply immerse the part in [sulphuric] acid-copper plating bath (without current) the copper will contact plate to the steel through galvanic action and you'll be able to see any non-stripped areas. You can remove the immersion copper film quickly (a matter of seconds) by swishing the part in your strip bath. Regards, Steve Wilcox

Steve Wilcox
- Tecumseh, Michigan

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