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"What causes variations on Nickel Sulfamate appearance?"


Q. We nickel plate using a nickel sulfamate bath and the finish has a rather dull look to it. When I carbon filter the bath it has a bright finish to it, an extreme difference in appearances. I was wondering what would cause the change in finish? I thought that the nickel sulfamate chemistry (without brighteners) was suppose to have a semi-matte finish. I am not getting that finish with or without the carbon filtering. Is it organic contamination or something else. Thanks in advance for your replies.

Dave Bernardini


A. If you are using anti pit, (snap), it is an organic material that does break down and does require periodic carbon treatment. The amount of treatment is very dependent on each users operation.

A darker grey is possibly a metal contamination. If the grey comes back very soon after carbon treatment, my guess is that the treatment made a minor improvement in the cathode efficiency and that your metal concentration is on the edge of becoming a permanent problem. I would low current density dummy the bath for a weekend with low agitation and see what the dummy plate looked like and what regular plate looked like afterwards. Periodic LCD treatment is well worth the cost in most operations.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


A. You can try to add a proprietary brightener that will not have an adverse effect on deposit's properties yet it will give a uniform deposit. This is of course on top of what Jim mentioned, if your deposit improves with the carbon treatment, it means that you are having a contamination.

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


Q. Hello.

How are you. I am very glad to contact with you.

My name is mohammad ali shafiei I am engineering student and I am searching about the composition of nickel brightener. I live in iran and you know that we have not credit card therefore I want to ask you send me some information about this subject please. Thank you.

mohammad ali shafiei
engineering student - isfahan,iran


A. Hello, Mr. Ali Shafiei.

Your university must obtain some textbooks about electroplating if they expect their students to be able to research these topics :-(

It is possible to use such materials as formaldelhyde and saccharin as brighteners in some nickel plating solutions. There is very good general information about nickel brightener systems in ASM's Metals Handbook, Volume 5.

One thing you probably do not realize yet is that information about how to formulate nickel brighteners is among the most closely guarded secrets in the electroplating industry because so much business depends on offering nickel solutions with the best brighteners. So, what you read in textbooks is quite outdated; and any information that is not outdated is likely to be a trade secret that people cannot share with you :-(

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

adv.   nickel how-to book

"The Sulfamate Nickel How-To Guide"

by David Crotty, PhD
& Robert Probert

published Oct. 2018
$89 plus shipping

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