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topic 589

Poor adhesion of electroless nickel plating on alloy steel

Electroless Plating
Mallory & Hajdu

Chemical (Electroless) Nickel Plating
G. G. Gawrilov


We want to plate a kind of steel alloy (a list of the composition is given below) with electroless nickel but up till now it hasn't been very satisfactory because of poor adhesion. We've tried it with activation in hydrochloric acid 1:1 and afterwards Ni strike for about 3 minutes but that didn't work. We like to have a simple solution. Please give us some suggestions.

C       1.92            Si      0.31            Mn      0.43            P       0.021           S       0.01            Cr      11.5 Ni       4.0            Mo      0.74            Cu      0.115 Al      0.07            Ti      0.03            B       0.0002 N       0.0385          V       3.057           Nb      0.011            Ta      0.005           Co      0.067           W       0.118

It is a sintered steel with a hardness of 58-60 Rockwell.

Waiting for some reply

Anke van Esch
Eindhoven, the Netherlands


The trick (one of many) with Chrome bearing Iron is to reverse current in the HCl (anodic) then go into a Woods strike under reverse current as well for 1 minute then switch polarity and strike for 5 minutes. Of course this bath will not last very long due to impurities loading on the reverse cycle, so you must learn how to control these impurities by dummying, feed & bleed, or outright dumping periodically. Works every time...even on Hastelloy. But don't EVER strike your other non-chrome bearing parts in this bath. Use it ONLY for your Chrome/Iron parts.
Good Luck,

Dave Kinghorn
Dave Kinghorn
Chemical Engineer
SUNNYvale, California

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