-- The Home Page of the Finishing Industry
A website for Serious Education, promoting Aloha,
& the most FUN smiley you can have in metal finishing.
    no popups, no spam
on this site
current topics
topic 0260a

Electroless tin plating of non-conductors

A discussion started in 1999 and continuing through 2009.
Add your Q. or A. to restore it to the "Current Topics" discussions.

Electroless Plating
Mallory & Hajdu
from Abe Books


Electroless Nickel Plating
Wolfgang Riedel
from Abe Books



Q. I plated ceramics without conductive material. I used immersion Tin 2% Sn Conc. 5% HCl. I preplate before electroless Ni and Immersion gold to protect nickel from oxidation. I plated ceramics for 15 years but I look for this information myself. I never worked with electroless Sn. Let me know if you find one to develop this chemical. It will save a lot of cost reduction.

Good Luck,

Duang Bouphasavanh
- Myrtle Beach,South Carolina

A. Hi Duang. Unless I missed something, I see no reference to electroless tin plating in such sources as Mallory & Hajdu's "Electroless Plating". I think there is no such thing.

I believe that the issue is a semantics one, i.e., although some people will sometimes call "immersion tin plating / displacement plating" on copper "electroless tin plating", most professionals reserve the term "electroless plating" for "catalytic" plating (where the solution contains reducing agent that "spring load" it such that deposition will occur as soon as a catalyst is present). So, while you will find immersion tin / displacement tin plating processes which will deposit onto copper, and some people may call them "electroless tin", I do not think you will find a true "electroless tin plating" solution which can obviate the need for your electroless nickel step.


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

sidebar (2001)

Q. Sir,

We manufacture single and double-sided Printed circuit boards and they are what we call "Roller Tinned" or "Roller Plated" as some people would express the term.

I need to "LEAD/TIN" plate the PCB'S and need a formula. Do explain how this may be achieved by the "Electroless" system and [alternately by] using a rectifier.

Thank you

Christopher Halgryn
- New Zealand

A. Hi Christopher. We have many threads on this site covering "tin-lead electroplating", sometimes called "solder plating". Please plug those phrases into the search engine at the top of the page. But in case you are new to this, plating shops / printed circuit board shops very rarely attempt to formulate plating solutions from raw chemicals; rather they buy a "tin-lead plating process" from suppliers to the industry. To my knowledge, electroless tin-lead plating is not currently possible.


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


Q. Duang Bouphasavanh,

you mentioned that you used a process to tin plate a nonconductive ceramic? Am I understanding you correctly that you used the electroless tin process to activate a nonconductive ceramic object for electroplating? If this is so,what exactly was the recipe for your solution? I am very interested in this for circuit boards. I've considered Tollens reagent,but silver is expensive and not the best solution.

Michael Michalski
- Sacramento, California


! The best way to electro plate non metals is to use palladium. It is very expensive but it will last forever as long as you use it regularly.
By dipping or submerging the non-metals in the palladium for 5 min, remove and drip dry. Plating electroless or electroplating as normal.

Johan Gagiano
Electronic Designing - Worcester, South Africa

July 10, 2008

Q. We are making PCB The tin plating we need should be Electroless. But how the mentioned processes are possible for the exploitation on Manufacturing Level? Which parameters are critical for maintaining?
I had tried but we got Black slurry & minor tin plating, How to reduce this problem? The Sn was released in Black Granules form I suppose. Then the process will be expensive. How to control Thickness, whatever it may be.

Chetan Choudhari
Owner, associate unit - Nasik, Maharashtra , INDIA

October 12, 2008

A. Can you give more information on what you try to accomplish? If I can help you out and I love to solve the problems people had. Thanks,

Duang Bouphasavanh (returning)
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

March 8, 2009

Q. I am also Looking for PTH PCB activator material, I have found this formula if anyone has a simple and cheap formula Please let me know.

The activation
solution contained

PdCl2 0.4 g/l,
SnCl2 4.5 g/l
HCl (37%) 500 ml/l

- Faisalabad,Punjab,Pakistan

July 21, 2009

A. The process I operated one for etching and follow two rinses tanks and Tin sensitizer bath with two rinses tanks and palladium bath is activator for the electroless nickel to plate.Before I plated nickel after activates and I changed the rack that will help from contamination on my EN bath.If you want to cut cost of chemicals,I will spend two days to study the process how it works or it will take at least a month to prove make sure it passed all test.You have a tin chloride bath : 2%Sn + 5%HCL + 93%DI H2O
Palladium bath : 8%Pd + 92%DI H2O.It depends who you buy the chemical from.I hope it will help you out.Good Luck,

Duang Bouphasavanh (returning)
- Myrtle Beach,South Carolina

This public forum has 60,000 threads. If you have a question in mind which seems off topic to this thread, you might prefer to Search the Site

ADD a Comment to THIS thread START a NEW threadView CURRENT TOPICS

Disclaimer: It's not possible to diagnose a finishing problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations may be deliberately harmful.

  If you need a product/service, please check these Directories:

JobshopsCapital Equip. & Install'nChemicals & Consumables Consult'g, Train'g, SoftwareEnvironmental ComplianceTesting Svcs. & Devices

©1995-2018, Inc., Pine Beach, NJ   -   About   -  Privacy Policy
How Google uses data when you visit this site.