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Nickel plating on stainless steel

Q. What type of environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, etc.) would cause nickel plating on stainless steel (300 series) to deplete?

Jason David VanMeter
- Rocket Center, West Virginia, USA

A. By "deplete" do you mean it drops off? If so, it is almost certainly a problem of poor pretreatment and the lack of a nickel strike layer. If you mean the nickel dissolves away, then it must be exposed to a suitable (and probably) acidic solution, possibly with an induced anodic current on it. Perhaps more details about what your actual problem is could help us.

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

Ed. note: We try to correct typos when they are obvious, but we don't know whether Jason meant to type 'deplate' or he truly meant 'deplete'.

A. Nickel plating can also run into problems were it is catalytic like with acetate and some rubber and possibly plastic compounds.Electroless nickel plating would give better protection than electrolytic nickel. Electroless nickel teflon plating can make the part hydrophobic possibly providing even better protection.

Todd Osmolski
- Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

"Nickel and Chromium Plating"
by Dennis & Such

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Q. The nickel plating is exhibiting a green powdery substance. Also it is pitting in and around the coils of the spring. Can anyone help me with what may cause this. The spring is not exposed to any chemicals other than acetone [on eBay or Amazon affil link], alcohol and it is stored in a cardboard container. There is no environmentally controlled storage.

Jason David VanMeter [returning]
- Rocket Center, West Virginia


A. Two things to check:

1. Rinsing after plating
2. Acidic fumes in the area

Good Luck!

James Totter
James Totter, CEF
- Tallahassee, Florida

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