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topic 18397

Sulfate Nickel vs. Sulfamate Nickel

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"The Sulfamate Nickel How-To Guide"

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Q. I am working on a project for mechanical design for a wireless telecommunication component. I intend to use nickel electroplating finish. Can anyone kindly tell me what's the difference between sulfamate nickel and sulfate nickel in mechanical/electrical properties, such as corrosion resistance, solderability, conductance, ductility, surface adhesion etc.? Thanks a lot!

David Lin
- Laurel, Maryland


A. As a general rule, sulfamate nickel is used for engineering purposes and electroforming while sulfate nickel is used for decorative brightwork.

Again, it's a general rule, and many shops will have only a single solution for both types of work. But the sulfamate nickel is generally an easier match if the component will be deformed or soldered and the sulfate nickel an easier match for brightest appearance.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


A. As Ted says, sulphate nickel is mainly decorative and sulphamate is engineering nickel. However, before nickel sulphamate was available the only engineering nickels were chloride or sulphate based. Sulphamate can deposit much lower stressed nickel than all the others and has the advantage it does not necessarily need additives, although in reality, to get neutral or compressive nickel, you do need some. It happily works at lower temperatures and also doesn't need chloride in the electrolyte if you use sulphur nickel anodes. I am not aware of any corrosion properties, although I believe there are claims that sulphamate produces a slightly harder deposit. I cannot, however, verify this.

trevor crichton
Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK

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