Home /
T.O.C.
FAQs
 
Good
Books
Ref.
Libr.
Advertise
Here
Help
Wanted
Current
Q&A's
Search 🔍
the Site

Problem? Solution? Chime right in!
(perhaps the world's last 'no registration' site)

-----

"Electroless nickel plating on stainless steel"

Current question and answers:

March 11, 2020

Q. [Electroless Nickel, copper and silver on stainless steel 316]

Dear experts,

I found this thread is very helpful and informative.

My project will use the electroless plating method to coat Nickel, copper, and silver on SS 316. As experts recommended, Wood's Nickel should be conducted before electroless plating. Are there any other steps that I should do in the procedure?

Would you like to advise a specific Wood's Nickel formulation for SS 316? And which article or book I can find the step-by-step process?

As my application is under severe fluid flow conditions, adhesion is the most important issue. Could I do the heat-treatment to enhance coating adhesion?

Thank you so much and I highly appreciate any advice.

Ho Dong
Incheon University - Incheon, Korea
^

none
finishing.com is made possible by ...

this text gets replaced with bannerText
spacer gets replaced with bannerImages


March 2020

"Electrodeposition: The Materials Science of Coatings and Substrates"
by Jack Dini
from Abe Books
or

affil. link
or
see our Review

A. Hello Ho,
In my opinion the best discussion of Wood's Nickel and adhesion is in Jack Dini's "Electrodeposition", and getting good adhesion between the Wood's Nickel and the stainless substrate is the most critical interface. But after a quick rinse, you must immediately do the next steps of Electroless Nickel and Copper plating because nickel plated surfaces passivate quickly. You might want to research whether a silver "strike" bath is required between copper plating and silver plating. Heating treating at any point will deactivate the surface and ruin the adhesion.

I'm not sure which steps in your project you are required to do personally, but just a reminder in case you didn't know it: plating is very jobshop oriented and the usual practice is to send parts out to a plating shop for plating. Becoming good at SST pretreatment, Wood's nickel strike, electroless nickel plating, copper plating, and silver striking/plating is fodder for four or five thesis projects, not one :-)

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


March 12, 2020

Q. Hello Mr. Mooney. Many thanks to your helpful advice. I tried to call many companies and shops in Korea, unfortunately, they do not cover all kinds of plating metals that I need. It requires many works as you mentioned, but I have no choice ;-). It would be very helpful please give me advice on the below issues.
1.In Woods strike step, the book said anodic 30-60 sec then turn to catholic 2-6 min. What is anodic and catholic and how to set up? Could I apply Wood strike by brushing the solution on substrate?
2.Could you explain why heat treatment will ruin adhesion?
3.I have gathered and compared the information of electroless plating procedures of Ni, Ag and Cu plating on stainless steel 316 substrate as follows:
Nickel plating procedure: 1. Cleaning-> 2. Etching ->3. Woods nickel strike-> 4.Electroless Nickel plating
Copper plating procedure ver.1 : 1. Cleaning-> 2. Etching ->3. Catalyzing by Palladium-tin colloidal solution-> 4.Electroless copper plating.
Copper plating procedure ver.2 : 1. Cleaning-> 2. Etching ->3. Woods nickel strike -> 4.Electroless copper plating.
Copper plating procedure ver.3 : 1. Cleaning-> 2. Etching ->3. Woods nickel strike->4. Catalyzing by Palladium-tin colloidal-> 5.Electroless copper plating.
Silver plating procedure: 1. Cleaning-> 2. Etching ->3. 4. Catalyzing by Palladium-tin colloidal -> 4.Electroless Silver plating.
AMONG 3 versions of Copper plating procedures which one is correct/ or best work on SS 316? Do we need to do both Woods strike and Catalyzing by Palladium-tin colloidal?
FOR Silver plating procedure why we do not need Woods nickel strike?

Ho Dong
- Incheon, Korea
^


March 2020

A. Hello again, Ho.

sidebar

The whole purpose of this site is to help people with their metal finishing needs so we certainly don't want to make that help unduly hard to get!

But when a thread covers everything from pretreatment to Wood's Nickel to electroless nickel to heat treatment to copper plating to silver striking to silver plating, google penalizes our site's ranking; as important, it makes it impossible for our thousands of daily readers to find the info they need when threads covers a dozen metal finishing processes and we end up with a hundred threads that address each individual type of plating :-(

But your second posting is making me think that you are saying you have to build 3 of something for some reason -- one each with electroless copper, electroless silver, and electroless nickel (because I've personally never heard of doing electroless nickel followed by electroless copper). Note that palladium seeding applies to non-conductive substrates, not metallic ones. Please start with a half page description of exactly what you want to build and why because all we're doing is confusing each other when I don't correctly understand what you want. Thanks!

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


March 18, 2020

Q. Dear Mr. Mooney. I am sorry for mixing things up at the beginning. You are right, I would like to do electroless plating of Nickel, copper, and silver SEPARATELY on three stainless steel 316 substrates.

FOR Nickel plating, I will do as following steps: Cleaning-> Etching ->Woods nickel strike-> Electroless Nickel plating.
FOR copper plating, I gathered info from research papers and books e.g. 'Electroless Copper and Nickel-Phosphorus Plating Processing' and 'Electroless Plating: Fundamentals And Applications' There are three different procedures:
1) Cleaning-> Etching -> Catalyzing by Palladium-tin colloidal solution-> Electroless copper plating;
2) Cleaning->Etching ->Woods nickel strike ->Electroless copper plating;
3) Cleaning-> Etching ->Woods nickel strike->Catalyzing by Palladium-tin colloidal->Electroless copper plating.
The books always recommend to do Catalyzing by Palladium-tin for Stainless steel substrate. I am confused which procedure is the best one?
FOR silver plating the book also recommend catalyzing by Palladium-tin as follow the procedure: Cleaning-> Etching ->Catalyzing by Palladium-tin colloidal -> Electroless Silver plating. Do we need to do Woods strike here?
IN ADDITION, In Woods strike PROCESS, the book said current density 'ANODIC 1A/dm^2 in 30-60 sec' then turn to 'CATHODIC 1A/dm^2 in 2-6 min' What is ANODIC and CATHODIC and how to set up?
Finally, I should not do heat treatment after plating as you advised. Could you explain why adhesion will be ruined by heat treatment?
This discussion is very helpful to me. Thank you so much for your enthusiastic advice.
Best regards,

Ho Dong [returning]
- Incheon, Korea
^


March 2020

A. Hi again. Stainless steel instantly forms an oxide layer on it, and electroplating with ideal adhesion requires the formation of metallic bonds between the substrate and the electroplated coating, which can't happen with an oxide layer in between them. Wood's Nickel Strike is a way of hopefully dissolving that oxide layer in acid and replacing it with nickel. Therefore (to my understanding) it is always required when plating on stainless steel (although there are alternatives like other nickel strike formulations or striking with gold).

"Electrodeposition: The Materials Science of Coatings and Substrates"
by Jack Dini
from Abe Books
or

affil. link
or
see our Review

Anodic and cathodic cycles mean, respectively, running the power supply with the workpiece being the positive electrode and the negative electrode. Yes, some sources suggest a short period of anodic current first; but many shops do not do it, and that single question of whether the anodic is necessary or beneficial could probably justify it's own research project :-)
As previously mentioned, personally I think the best explanation of Wood's Nickel Strike is in Dini's "Electrodeposition".

I am not personally familiar with the use of palladium-tin catalyzing on stainless steel; I have only heard of it being used on non-conductive substrates. To summarize, I think the right thing to do is to clean and Wood's Nickel Strike all three of your pieces, then make sure nickel is catalytic (initiates the deposition) for your electroless copper and electroless silver, and to proceed to deposit the three electroless plating solutions onto the nickel strike.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



November 19, 2020

Q. I'm trying to something similar to a lot of others in this post. I have an assembly that is copper and 304SS that are brazed together using a CuSil (copper silver alloy) and a gold copper alloy. We have to plate high phosphorous electroless nickel because of its non magnetic properties.

The problem we have faced on this for a long time is peeling nickel on the stainless steal portions. After years of asking I finally have it approved to apply an acid gold strike. So I'm bead blasting the parts before plating, cleaning in alkaline cleaner, activating in a sodium fluoride activator, and then performing an acid gold strike at 100 ASF. This seems to have some success. I have some parts that have no flaking or peeling at all and others that are peeling on the stainless steel still. Any ideas what I could be doing wrong or better to obtain adhesion?

Ben Hartford
- Laurens South Carolina
^


February 10, 2021

A. As others recommended, you need a nickel strike prior to the EN.
No need for anodic/cathodic, only cathodic.
The Palladium-Tin is used for non conductive substrate.

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

^




Previous closely related Q&A's starting in:

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
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
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
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



To minimize search efforts and to offer multiple viewpoints, we combined previously separate threads onto this page. Please forgive any resultant repetition, failures of chronological order, or what may look like readers disrespecting previous responses -- those other responses may not have been on the page at the time :-)



2000

affil. link
Electroless Plating
by Mallory & Hajdu
from Abe Books
or

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 sara michaeli signature
chemical process supplier
Tel-Aviv, Israel

^


"Electrodeposition: The Materials Science of Coatings and Substrates"
by Jack Dini
from Abe Books
or

affil. link
or
see our Review

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
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^



To minimize search efforts and to offer multiple viewpoints, we combined previously separate threads onto this page. Please forgive any resultant repetition, failures of chronological order, or what may look like readers disrespecting previous responses -- those other responses may not have been on the page at the time :-)



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 "Plating on Plastics" [affil link to the book on: Amazon or AbeBooks ])
^



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
^



April 8, 2014

affil. link
"Electroless Copper and Nickel-Phosphorous Plating"
from Abe Books

or

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
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
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

affil. link
"Electroless Nickel Plating"
by Wolfgang Riedel
from Abe Books
or
info on Amazon

A. Hi again, Yogesh. Yes there are alternatives to almost anything, including Wood's Nickel strike. But despite two postings, they remain too cryptic for me to follow :-)

You're apparently trying to do high phosphorous electroless nickel directly onto type 316SS and it is not working. I and others here said that we wouldn't expect it to work without a Wood's nickel strike. But 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. Are you using the product which you were led to believe from the market would work and it is not working? Or are you arguing in general terms that we're wrong and any electroless nickel should work directly on your 316SS even though several of us said it won't, and it's not? :-)
Thanks!

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
^


(you are on the 1st page of the thread)       Next page >


finishing.com is made possible by ...
Experts in Electroless Nickel Plating: Hill-Cross [West New York, NJ]
hill-cross nickel boron plating

Q, A, or Comment on THIS thread SEARCH for Threads about ... My Topic Not Found: Start NEW Thread

Disclaimer: It's not possible to fully 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 might be harmful.

If you are seeking a product or service related to metal finishing, please check these Directories:

 
Jobshops
Capital
Equipment
Chemicals &
Consumables
Consult'g, Train'g
& Software


About/Contact    -    Privacy Policy    -    ©1995-2021 finishing.com, Pine Beach, New Jersey, USA