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"Heat Resistance of Electroless Nickel Plating"

Current question:

September 17, 2021

Q. I am trying to stop a copper gasket from oxidizing with nickel plating. The gasket will be in an oven at 500 °C that holds for about 10-15 hours. What thickness should I use for this and is it even possible?

Nicholas Jaynes
- Salt Lake City

September 2021

A. Hi Nicholas. If this copper gasket is a part of the oven, it's probably possible to apply an electrolytic nickel plating, maybe nickel sulfamate, which will have greater temperature resistance than electroless nickel, and probably be more ductile.

But if this gasket is a component which you will be placing into an oven for heat treatment, although I don't know much about heat treatment, I understand that there are simpler approaches to protecting the copper -- ranging from vacuum or nitrogen atmosphere, to stainless steel bags you can put the gaskets in, to various temporary coatings you slather on to keep the oxygen away. Food for thought until someone who actually knows what they are talking about responds :-)

Luck & Regards,

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

Closely related Q&A's, oldest first:


Q. I am a Materials Engineer with Defense Contractor Company. Presently, I am trying to search coatings that can provide corrosion resistance along with heat resistance (up to 1200 °F temperature intermittently) on the parts I am selecting a coating. I know electroless nickel plating can provide excellent corrosion resistant but I could not find any information about its heat resistant properties. I will appreciate it very much if you have that information.

Mahendra Jani
Manufacturing - Muskegon, Michigan

simultaneous 2004

A. Above 220 °C electroless nickel + 10% Phos begins to form Ni phosphides, recrystallize, harden and shrink. Its corrosion resistance is reduced. At temperatures above 400 °C it begins to lose hardness and corrosion resistance is reduced even more. Above 550 ° C its hardness will fall to around 200 HV. Beyond that you are getting close to its melting point of only 890 ° C (very low for hot applications I think).

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico


A. What you need is Safranek's book "Properties of Electrodeposited Metals and Alloys" [affil. link to book on Amazon]. Check the books section at this site for the price and the correct name/spelling. The type of EN makes a difference. You may be able to use a copy at a major library or on a interlibrary agreement. I do not think that EN is going to do well at 1200 °F, but that depends on what you expect it to do.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


A. Guillermo is complete correct about the reactions that occur with EN coatings as they are heated.

There is one exception. If the substrate is steel and you heat treat the coating at 1200 -- 1400 °F for one to four hours, you will diffuse the coating into the steel. The new diffusion coating is actually more corrosion and abrasion resistant than the as-deposited coating.

This process is described in the original Kanigen papers and in a paper by Evarts at the 1999 EN Conference in Indianapolis.

If diffusion heat treatments are not practical, then electrolytic nickel or chromium are better choices.

Ron Duncan
Ron Duncan [dec]
- LaVergne, Tennessee
It is our sad duty to note Ron's passing on Dec. 15, 2006. A brief obituary opens Episode 13 of our Podcast.



A. My paper "Electroless Nickel applications Involving Heat Excursions" is published in Metal Finishing, Jan 1999, Vol 97 No.1A. It may give you some insights into what happens when EN is heated to high temperatures.

don baudrand
Don Baudrand
Consultant - Poulsbo, Washington
(Don is co-author of "Plating on Plastics" [affil link to the book on: Amazon or AbeBooks ])

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 :-)

Temperature Limits for Nickel-Phosphorus Plating

April 21, 2008

Q. 1. What is the heat resistance of Ni-P plating on a regular stainless steel? We have produced the Ni-7%P plating and to our astonishment received like eutectic melting after heating to 950 °C
2. What is preferable operating temperatures for this kind of plating?

anatoly sheyn
Anatoly Sheyn
Process Engineer - Israel

simultaneous April 22, 2008

A. You are right. EN forms a low melting point eutectic alloy which melts around that temp depending on P content.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico

April 22, 2008

A. That is no shock! Literature says that the melting point is 880 - 890 °C. Did you check literature for the MP of EN or for pure nickel which is 1455 °C?

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

April 24, 2008

Q. According to Nickel-Phosphorus binary diagram the eutectoid temperature is 1100 °C. our composition is 6%P + Ni balance. What is a safety heating temperature for this case?

Anatoly Sheyn [returning]
- Jerusalem, Israel

Electroless nickel on aluminum - high temp

January 29, 2020

Q. Hello, I'm working with a semiconductor OEM for mid-temp ovens (300 °C). There's an advantage to our system throughput if I can use electroless nickel plated aluminum in the reactor. It would be cycled about 3x daily from 20 °C to 300 °C. Would the electroless nickel adhesion integrity survive that cycling? Is there any information on the highest temperatures electroless nickel can be used on aluminum?

Ronald Stevens
Yield Engineering Systems - Livermore

February 5, 2020

A. I'm not aware of any testing/hard data on this sort of thermal cycling.

I will hazard a guess: you will have an adhesion problem within a hundred thermal cycles. Maybe sooner than that.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina

February 7, 2020

Hi all,

Not so long ago I read across a publication concerning re-crystalization under temperature influence for electroless layers. Maybe it will help you to get started what fits the named application.
To put it into short terms: 320 °C is a critical temperature for amorphous NiP.


M. Noack
- Berlin, Germany

Ed. note July 2020: Unfortunately this link broke in well under 6 months :-(
Links are usually short-lived and rather incompatible with this site which has been striving to be a permanent reference for 31 years now :-)

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