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Nickel plating cast iron

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I have a cast iron vintage car front axle that I have highly polished. I would like this item to be nickel plated but am worried that the process can cause brittleness in the item. Are my fears founded or will the item plate and remain safe to use.

Iian Caldwell
hobbyist - Scotland UK


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Nickel plating is almost 100% efficient, so only a little hydrogen will be co-deposited. There will therefore be some risk of hydrogen embrittlement, but this can be relieved by doing a suitable bake out or heat treatment. Although you have got a highly polished cast iron axle, it will almost certainly be porous, as most cast iron is. You should firstly plate the iron a cyanide copper to fill in the holes and then re-polish the surface. You can then plate the copper with nickel.

Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK

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