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topic 16897

Electroless nickel plating on stainless steel



A discussion started in 1999 & continuing through 2017

(1999)

Q. We have been asked if we can plate electroless nickel onto 'duplex' stainless steel.

We currently plate all of our processes onto the many different varieties of stainless steels that come our way -- usually without any particular problems. We use a high chloride nickel strike.

Our customer informs us that adhesion appears to be a problem (at another plater) so I am keen to get as much background information as I can.

I look forward to any suggestions.

David Grimes
David Grimes
plating company - Farnham, Surrey, United Kingdom


(1999)

A. I have never heard of "duplex SS". Do you have a more common name for it?

With proper activation of the SS, proper maintenance of the strike solution and no delay getting into the follow on plating, you should not have a problem plating any SS.

Activating some metals like waspalloy, require that attention be paid to the activation step prior to the strike, which is an additional activation as well as the strike.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


(1999)

wikipedia
Duplex stainless steel

A. Jim: Stainless steels have traditionally been identified as of austenitic, ferritic, martensitic, etc. My understanding is that the duplex stainless steels are mixtures of roughly half-and-half austenitic and ferritic. While we can find info about what 'duplex' stainless steel means on the web, I haven't found any info about special procedures (if any) for activating them for plating. My strong suspicion is that your Wood's nickel strike will work fine.

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


(1999)

A. Duplex stainless's are mixtures of austenite & ferrite, we've plated hundreds of tons of the stuff over the past 10 years, particularly for the offshore industry (pipe connections), we've found that standard Wood's strikes are okay on 13Cr alloys but once you start getting up to and above 22Cr you have to start increasing the HCl concentration of the strike. Also be careful if you decide to sulphuric etch -- they can smut quite badly depending upon the grade.

Regards

Richard Guise
- Lowestoft, U.K.


thumbs up signThanks Richard!

Regards,

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



To minimize searching and offer multiple viewpoints, we combined multiple threads into the dialog you're viewing. Please forgive any resultant repetition.



(2000)

Q. I am looking for a solution for plating electroless nickel on Stainless Steel. I am currently doing electroless nickel on mild steel. I don't know the right procedure to plate on Stainless Steel. I appreciate your guidance. Thanks.

Nirav Mehta
- Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India


(2000)

A. The exact alloy of the stainless will have an effect on the exact preplate chemicals, but it will basically run thru a suitable cleaner, an etch, Wood's Nickel strike and then the EN.

Time between rinses and process tanks must be an absolute minimum or you will have passivation and poor adhesion.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


(2000)

Q. Thank You James Watts for your speedy reply. There are two types of SS on which electroless nickel is required.(1) SS 316 & (2) SS 410. If you can give more details on composition as well as parameter of Wood's nickel Strike and EN, it will be highly appreciate.

Thanks you once again.

Nirav Mehta [returning]
- Ahmedabad,Gujarat,India


(2000)

A. An intermediate layer of a Wood's Nickel strike can lead to pinhole corrosion due to the high chloride content. An intermediate layer of a suitable strong acid gold strike bath minimizes porosity and leads to a better corrosion resistance (stainless steel and electroless nickel are quite precious compared to the nickel out of the Wood's nickel strike bath).

Uwe Manz
- Aalen, Germany


(2000)

A. Never had a problem with a Wood's strike. You can find the formula for a Wood's strike in nearly any plating book. I preferred to running it at the lower end of the nickel and the middle to slightly higher end of the HCl range in any formulation that I have seen. 316 SS can stand a lot stronger etch than 410SS and will normally need a longer time in the etch than 410.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


(2000)

Q. Jim, I have seen quite a few formulations to strike nickel with 120-240 g/l nickel chloride and 4-10% v/v hydrochloric acid. What is your best shot for plating on SS?

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



Electrodeposition -- The Materials Science of Coatings and Substrates


A. Hi Sara. I'd say the ideal composition is 240 g/l nickel chloride and 120 ml/l HCl. The reason I'd call it ideal is because, according to the Adhesion chapter in Dini's "Electrodeposition", adhesion values of an incredible 70 to 80,000 psi were found to be possible with it.

Regards,

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



To minimize searching and offer multiple viewpoints, we combined multiple threads into the dialog you're viewing. Please forgive any resultant repetition.



(2002)

Q. Is it possible and recommended to make an electroless nickel coating (about 10 micrometers thick) over AISI 329 (duplex stainless steel) parts?

Is it possible and recommended over stainless steels parts in general?

Is possible and recommended to do hard chromium plating (150-200 micrometers thick) over AISI 329 and/or stainless steels in general?

Thanks and best regards,

pasquale cirese
aerospace mfgr. - firenze, Italia


(2002)

A. It is possible to plate either EN or chrome on any stainless. Some are easier than others. Why would you want to do it or is it practical would depend on what you wanted it to do, which you did not say.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


(2002)

Q. Duplex stainless steels are those with ferritic/austenitic microstructure. The nickel or chromium coatings should be applied in order to obtain a local hardness of 50-60 HRC (for seat of rotating seals). Ceramic coating should be avoided. The candidate material is EN 1.4462 whose % composition is: C 0.030 max - Si 1.0 max - Mn 2.0 max - P 0.030 max - S 0.015 max - Cr 22 - Ni 5.5 - Mo 3.2 - N 0.18. Thanks.

pasquale cirese [returning]
aerospace mfgr. - firenze, Italia


(2002)

A. In order to plate electroless nickel or another metal deposit one must use a good alkaline cleaner, rinse, acid dip, rinse, and then Electroplate in a "Woods nickel strike" or a low pH sulfamate nickel strike, then plate in the desired plating solutions.

(a Woods nickel strike consists of 240 g/L nickel chloride and 10% by vol. hydrochloric acid. Plate at 40-100 amps/sq.ft.)

don baudrand
Don Baudrand
Consultant - Poulsbo, Washington

(Don is co-author of the
book "Plating on Plastics")



High phosphorous electroless nickel plating flakes off of stainless steel

(2006)

Q. I am trying to apply electroless nickel on stainless steel (316 steel type). The nickel I'm applying is high phosphorus and I'm currently dealing with the nickel cracking on some areas of the parts. Is there an additional step or process I should be doing besides the cleansing process to help adhere nickel with out it flaking or cracking? By the way, all the copper I'm plating has no issues with cracking or adhesion. I would appreciate the help out there.

Hector Ambriz
Researcher - Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA


(2006)

A. 316 is a bit harder than 304 to activate but not that hard.
You fail to mention a nickel strike. 316 needs to have a proper Woods Nickel Strike and to not let it passivate before you get it into the EN tank.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida



Wood's Nickel is slightly black

December 23, 2011

Q. Sir,
I have a job of SS 430 automobile job. Customer needs electroless nickel plating.
I tried with Wood's Nickel: Nickel chloride 240 g/l and HCl 90 ml/l^3, A/Dm2.
After this the pieces get slightly black.
Please give the right procedure to do.

Thanks

Sakthivel T
- Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, India



A. Hi Sakthivel. Yes, Wood's Nickel Strike is already the correct approach, and your composition sounds workable, and close to that suggested by Don Baudrand. Your current density didn't come through in your e-mail, but as long as it's in the range that Don suggests, it ought to be okay.

I strongly suspect you are missing something, rather than that the conventional Wood's Nickel won't work for you, but it is not easy to know from such a brief description what it is. Are you sure the parts exhibited no water break as they came out of the rinse before Wood's Nickel, and are you sure you're not over activating and generating that slightly black color as a smut in the acid tank, and that you are using sulfur-free anodes?

Regards,

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



April 8, 2014

Q. I am using a high phosphorous electroless nickel system. On MS substrate the system is working great.
But as substrate turns to be stainless steel, the system fails to plate, plateout is issue and plating is irregular.

Could anyone suggest why there is irregular plating.
My plating conditions are as follows

Ni : 5.6 - 5.8 gpl
Hypo : 35 - 38
pH : 4.8 - 5.1
Temp : 87 - 90 °C

Yogesh Kulkarni
- Pune, India


April 2014

A. Hi Yogesh. We appended your inquiry to a similar thread where you will learn that electroless nickel directly on stainless steel will likely be unsatisfactory. You must do a Wood's Nickel strike first. Good luck.

Regards,

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


April 11, 2014

Q. I came to know from market that certain processes are available which will not require Wood's nickel strike for plating on Stainless steel. SS316 too.

Any input from experts?

Yogesh Kulkarni [returning]
- Pune, India


April 2014

A. Hi again, Yogesh. Surely there are alternatives to almost anything, including Wood's Nickel strike. But even after two postings, you are being too cryptic for me to follow you :-)

You are apparently trying to do high phosphorous electroless nickel directly on type 316SS and it is not working. I'm saying that I would not expect it to work. And you are apparently saying it should because of something you "came to know from the market"? Please try to clearly state what you believe you heard so that we can discuss it. Thanks!

Regards,

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


Electroless Plating
Mallory & Hajdu

May 6, 2014 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. How can i activate 316L stainless steel before electroless Ni plating?
How can I increase pH of a Ni electroless solution which I have bought? Is it possible?

Mohammad reza
- Tehran, Iran


May 2014

A. Hi Mr. Reza. We appended your inquiry to a thread which explains the activation of stainless steel for electroless nickel plating. You can probably increase the pH by an addition of ammonium hydroxide, but it depends on the bath formulation. But a solid knowledge base is advisable, as even the reliable measurement of pH in an electroless nickel bath can be difficult, let alone the beneficial adjustment of it :-)

Luck and Regards,

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



Need instruction for electroless nickel and nickel-chrome electroplating, step by step

June 3, 2014

Q. Hello sir
I am starting an electroless Ni and a Ni-Cr electroplating plating plant in Surat.
So give me a proper idea and proper process steps one by one.

gosai jaydipgiri
heat engineering works - Surat,Gujarat,India


June 2014

A. Hi Gosai. Please start with our " Undeerstanding Chrome Plating" article, which I hope you find interesting. But if I told you I wanted to start a heat engineering works but knew nothing about it, you would realize that you couldn't realistically give me the proper process steps one by one :-)

Similarly, our readers would like to help you, but what you are asking is a hundred times beyond what the most ambitious reader could cover in a forum response. Sorry! You must retain a consultant to get started in such an enterprise; and I'd also suggest hiring experienced platers. If you can't do that, you probably should at least read several of our "must have" plating books. I'd suggest starting with the Metal Finishing Guidebook, followed by Mallory & Hajdu's "Electroless Plating" [link is to product info at Amazon]. Best of luck!

Regards,

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



How to electroless nickel plate a low-carbon steel + stainless steel weldment

August 28, 2015

Q. I have a low-carbon steel (Consumet iron) part welded to a 304 SS part. The welding material is either 310 or 312 SS. To prevent corrosion to the iron part, I have to electroless nickel plate the whole assembly. I wonder if this is possible?

Dan Bui
- Milpitas, California, USA


September 9, 2015

A. Dan,
I usually see people recommend a Woods nickel strike in order to plate anything onto stainless. Though I wonder, if the electroless nickel plates onto the carbon steel and ignores the stainless, does that still accomplish what you are really after, preventing corrosion on the carbon steel?

ray kremer
Ray Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
supporting advertiser
McHenry, Illinois
stellar solutions banner


September 11, 2015

A. The EN will plate on the SS without a woods strike, but the adhesion will be unsatisfactory for most.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


October 15, 2015

A. Most important - the strike nickel should have no more than 100-150 ppm iron, otherwise the adhesion will not be good.

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




Electroless Nickel Plating on SS 316

September 17, 2016 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I am in the process of Electroless Nickel Plating SS 316 metal. I have been unsuccessful this far.

I believe that I am missing a chelating agent. These are the conditions I am using. 50 ml Deionized water, pH ~5, 90 °C, with the following chemicals.

Nickel Sulfate Hexahydrate 1.3g
Glycolic Acid 1.25
Sodium Hypophosphite 1.250

Is this process accurate? If not, kindly advise me how to fix the problem.

Thanks!

Randal Left
Student - Austin, Texas


September 2016

A. Hi Randal. Is the object of your work to develop your own individual plating process, or is the object of your work to do something with that electroless nickel plated stainless steel object? The reason I ask is that students often naturally assume that the way one obtains a plating solution is by mixing commodity chemicals together -- but in fact "nobody" in the Western world does that ... rather, we buy proprietary plating processes that are the result of decades of development effort, and which contain small amounts of several trade secret chemicals.

Again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a project aimed at developing specialized plating chemistry ... more power! But if you're just trying to get the darned thing plated, mixing up raw commodity chemicals isn't the way.

I'm not sure exactly what "unsuccessful" means. It's not sticking, it's not thick enough, the vessel spontaneously plates out, or nothing is happening whatsoever? But the first issue to address is that you probably can't successfully plate electroless nickel on stainless without preceding it with a Wood's Nickel Strike. So you might as well do things in the right order from the start. You'll find numerous threads about Wood's Nickel on this site if there isn't enough info on this thread. And are you positive that the article is spotlessly clean to a waterbreak-free condition? Good luck!

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"


sidebar2
October 12, 2016

Q. I am facing problem please help me all if you can. I will be very grateful to you all on this act of kindness. We are here trying to make micro crystalline cellulose from cotton waste. For that we first mix cotton waste in a stainless steel tank in dilute hydrochloride acid, that meaning 1:10, one liter of acid with 10 liter of water, and we are using 34% Commercial grade acid, with continuous heating and mixing. Problem is that all our SS tank accessories get very strong rust and broke within one day or two. Please guide us what to do either we nickle the tank or used some chemical you recommend?
I will be very grateful to you all for your act of kindness.

Syed Faisal shah
Ittehad traders - Peshawar Pakistan


May 2017

A. Hi Syed. Although electroless nickel might possibly work for a while, it would be an outrageously expensive approach. If you cannot use a plastic tank in the sink, you can "line" the sink with vinyl tank lining sheets. Plastic (vinyl, polypropylene, polyethylene, teflon, vinyl ester fiberglass), not metal, is the first thing to consider when handling acids. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"



Electroless Copper plating on Cr/Ni Alloy?

May 4, 2017 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I am working on plating Electroless copper on Cr/Ni Alloy. Currently I am facing an adhesion problem, as it was easily removed after wipe off. Any help on this is highly appreciated.

Prabuddha Sampath
Product designer - Sri Lanka


May 2017

A. Hi cousin Sampath. You may know ten times as much about electroless copper plating as I do (that wouldn't be hard), or you may be clueless so far -- and unfortunately there is no way for me to know from your posting :-(

So for starters: you are talking about actual autocatalytic electroless copper plating ... you're not talking about a copper sulphate immersion deposit? Have you activated the alloy first by plating it with Wood's Nickel?

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"


May 5, 2017

Q. Hi Ted,
I have used autocatalytic electroless copper plating solution, which has been worked at Cu/Ni Alloy. After the deposition, deposited copper was plated properly. A thin layer of Cu on Cu/Ni alloy.

But when I tried out with Ni/Cr alloy, Cu has been deposited (vary good thickness achieved). Which was not bonded to Ni/Cr substrate as properly as required.

Now what I was thinking of to overcome was to have plate autocatalytic electroless Ni on Ni/Cr then followed with autocatalytic electroless copper plating?

Any other easy way rather than this will be grateful.

Many thanks,
Sampath

Prabuddha sampath [returning]
- Sri Lanka


May 2017

A. Hi Sampath. If you will read the rest of this thread you will see that Electroless Nickel won't stick either. The problem is an inert film which forms instantly on the Nickel-Chrome alloy. You need a Wood's Nickel Strike before the electroless copper. The strike is a very dilute and very acidic solution which simultaneously dissolves that inert film while replacing it with fresh nickel.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"


Electroless Nickel Plating on 316SS Electrolyser Electrodes

May 12, 2017

Q. Hi there

Have been running a prototype of water electrolysis cell stack with SS316 electrodes and now is the time to try something different. Looking into Nickel plating as Nickel is inert vs. aqueous based solutions, so it is a technique of interest since we can improve the longevity of this stack to work for longer.

The SS316 electrodes have been previously pickled with citric acid, passivated with pure oxygen and then followed an activation method that involves electrical charging, see method below:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A1U3taekgloAkZ_chJCYF8rObBb4srBnc3Qni-9Ca3E/edit?usp=sharing

From reading a few posts in here, it seems that this method is not something common here among finishers, loading the metal finishing book now to grab some more info on procedures.

The electrodes have been bathing in work solution that is aqueous 10% Potassium Hydroxide since that procedure was run a few months ago. So they are very clean.

Is it worth to consider a HCl activation from where we are at? or Wood's strike? Or would that be an overkill? Or start again with pickling? And passivation again?

Have acquired an electroless nickel plating kit from a hobby plating supplier.

Just want to make sure we get it right first time as it is a long process to pull all the electrodes out of this stack.

Let us know if we are or aren't on the right track.

Much appreciated. RGK

Renaud Kobrynski
Engineer - Brunswick
  ^- Privately contact this inquirer -^


May 2017

A. Hi Renaud. My personal opinion is that there are several things wrong here. First is the belief that with no prior experience you can plate these plates properly on your first self-supervised training exercise. I think that's awfully optimistic and that as a minimum you should plate and test a variety of scrap and sample parts before you "pull all the electrodes out of this stack".

I don't know if this is a hobby project or a business, but in business you would generally send such parts to a plating shop with proven competence, not attempt to plate them yourself.

It's probably not a case of people in the plating industry being unfamiliar with a successful method for "activating" the stainless steel for subsequent plating, but a situation where the people writing in the blog you mentioned having a different meaning in mind when they talk about "activating" the electrode.

I don't think there's much chance of electroless nickel plating properly adhering to these 316 SS electrodes unless you do a Wood's Nickel or equivalent strike. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"


May 18, 2017

Q. Dear Mister,

I don't think you have much understanding on how many hybrids of types of projects out there and where you draw your line between "hobby" or "business", this is plain retarded, and I have no business in answering to this attack.

We have plenty of time at hand as the longer we spend developing our own techniques that keeps our engineering interns busy, the more money we get out of our R&D grant.

Therefore, what advantage would we have in shoving our budget into any of these, inefficient, money hungry "local businesses" that in the end spends it all in real estate scams, when we can empower ourselves with new knowledge in metal finishing for example. Metal finishing ain't rocket science, it has to be done right, just like about anything technical.

We will indeed test on some samples, we are not that stupid.

So are you only experienced in giving advice just to the guys that make metals look pretty or are you going to help us save some time on this plating job on these electrolytic active parts, or is that p'haps too challenging for you old timer?

By the way, congrats for your web interface it's just such a remarkable platform by its simplicity and its technicality, a pleasure to work with that.

Renaud G. Kobrynski [returning]
- Brunswick Vic, Australia


May 27, 2017

"So are you only experienced in giving advice just to the guys that make metals look pretty or are you going to help us save some time on this plating job on these electrolytic active parts, or is that p'haps too challenging for you old timer?"

Nobody knows everything, but when it comes to Ted and the others who participate on this site, collectively there is more knowledge than you will ever acquire in a lifetime.

I suggest you take your offensive attitude and go away. Far, far away.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg,
      South Carolina



June 20, 2017

! Thank you Finishing.com for all of your useful information. Your website is my final resource for finding practical solutions to my plating problems.

masih ghorban
Arjan Co. - Tehran, Iran


June 2017

thumbs up sign Thanks for the kind words, cousin Masih. Remember that trying to teach can often be the best way to learn :-)

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"



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