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topic 13745

Standard Nickel Strike Composition


Hello everybody,

I have a question regarding Woods Nickel Strike solution composition and procedure for ferrous alloys before electroless Ni-P plating. I have found several different aspects from various sources.

For example:
ASM Metals Handbook: 240g/l NiCl2.6H2O - 250ml/l HCl
ASTM B 656 STD: 240g/l NiCl2.6H2O - 320ml/l HCl, anodic 30-60sec and then cathodic 2-6min

A friend of mine working in a German plating company, told me the following recipe: 180g/l NiCl26H2O - 160ml/l HCl, just cathodic 3-5min. I tried it on pieces made of tool steel containing Ni-Cr-Mo and it worked.

Is there a standard optimum composition to work with or everyone is making the strike solution by experience? Does carbon or/and alloying element content of the steel play a role?


Christos Sigalas
- Athens, Greece


I have seen a few compositions for strike nickel and I assume that the right composition depends on the substrate. I like to work with 120 g/l nickel chloride plus 8-10% v/v hydrochloric acid.

sara michaeli
sara michaeli signature 
Sara Michaeli
chemical process supplier
Tel-Aviv, Israel


Dear Sara,

Thank you for your response. By saying 10% v/v HCl, I assume you mean 100ml/l, right? Isn't that much less than what bibliography and interntional standards report?

If you allow me, for which application do you perform nickel strike, before Electroless Ni-P plating or other?

And by the way, because we are first of all people, I believe the whole world is watching the sad events in your region, and I just want to express my sympathy and hope that will end soon in peace.


Christos Sigalas
- Athens, Greece


Thanks Christos for your kind words. We use this nickel strike for activating stainless steel before plating with EN or electrolytic nickel. You can also use it for activating copper or brass before EN.

Sara Michaeli
Sara Michaeli signature 
Sara Michaeli
chemical process supplier
Tel-Aviv, Israel


Dear Mr. Sigalas:

Adding to what has already been said, the only precaution we now take because of past experiences is not to reverse cycle on high carbon alloy steels. It severely attacks and smuts your parts. In these cases only forward (obviously hidrogen embritlement is always a factor to consider in high resistance steels).

Best regards,

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico

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