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topic 0024

Activation of Alloy 55 stainless steel for plating

A discussion started in 1995 and continuing through 2009.
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Teaching the AESF L.A. Branch this semester, and several students mention problems with plating Alloy 55 (stainless steel) without blisters. They say they use Wood's Nickel Strike after etching, rinsing, etc. But after baking at 375 for 23 hours (per spec), they get blisters, Would using a special copper strike after the Wood's Nickel or in place of it be a possible cure?

Best regards, Myron

Myron E. Browning
L.A. Branch AESF, Los Angeles, California

Stainless Steels (ASM)


Many years ago I ran a line plating mil-spec cad, watts nickel, and nickel-cadmium. Process was electroclean in a cyanide based deruster/cleaner with a periodic reverse (5 min racks, 10-15 barrels), rinse, HCl pickle (also on periodic reverse),10-15 sec, (leave on reverse cycle) rinse, wood's nickel strike, rinse, then to process (cadmium plating/nickel plating, etc.). Many of these parts went on to baking afterward, without difficulty (that I'm aware of) -- leading me to believe that the surface prep cleaning may be responsible for your blistering

Ron Landrette
plating equipment supplier - Bristol, Connecticut

Electrodeposition -- The Materials Science of Coatings and Substrates

May 17, 2009

Hi, folks. I think the best source of good information on Wood's Nickel Strike and adhesion to stainless steels is found in Dini's "Electrodeposition: The Materials Science of Coatings and Substrates", where he gives tested adhesion values for various operating parameters. It's very good at taking us from general rumors to genuine adhesion science. Good luck.


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

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