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topic 2941

Electroless palladium plating bath

An ongoing discussion from 1999 through 2015 . . .


Q. I am currently doing a project at UMIST, and require some information on electroless palladium deposition. Is there a technique that will form thin films on steel substrates? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Hopefully Matt

Matthew Allen
UMIST (university) - Manchester, England


A. You should look into sputter coating of the palladium. Try Teer Coatings Ltd., or you may want to talk to the coatings group at the University of Salford. They both have systems that can do the job very easily, and with much better quality than you can get from plating.

jim treglio portrait
Jim Treglio
PVD Consultant - San Diego, California

Romankiw electroplated copper printhead
from Electrochimica Acta, Vol. 42, nos 20---- by L.T. Romankiw

thumbs up signPardon me, Jim, but could you please clarify that "much better quality than you can get from plating" stuff? =>

While it is certainly true that plating can be such an economical finish that people may make dirt cheap hardware items and then send them to a zinc plating shop to be plated for 10¢ a pound, that doesn't mean the technology is incapable of super precision and super quality.

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Let me qualify my answer. PVD coatings are generally denser and have much higher adhesion than chemically deposited coatings. On the other hand, they are likely to be deposited with greater residual compressive stress, which limits their thickness and can be very detrimental for many applications.

jim treglio portrait
Jim Treglio
- San Diego, California


Thanks, Jim. PVD clearly has both advantages and disadvantages compared to plating, but they have little to do with any electroplating quality problem except that, yes, unfortunately some plating shops are accustomed to doing sloppy work.

As for adhesion, let's not confuse coatings like paint with electroplating, where metals electrochemically grow one on the other. Electroplating can exhibit "perfect adhesion", i.e., impossible to separate the coating from the substrate--one of the two will rip apart before the interface separates.

Yes, most electroplating has tensile stress, and that usually isn't good either :-)

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Need electroless palladium plating process


Q. We are developing a process for manufacture of nickel electrodes coated with palladium or a palladium boron alloy. We are seeking either companies making electroless palladium or palladium boron alloy plating solutions or formulations that we can use to make our own plating solution. Can you provide this information?

Robert Goldberg
- Sharon, Massachusetts

December 30, 2015 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Does anyone know of an electroless Palladium process to be applied over whatever surface would be required for best results?

David Epner
job plating shop - Brooklyn, New York US

Electroless Plating
Mallory & Hajdu
from Abe Books


December 2015

A. Hi David. Mallory & Hajdu has 10 pages on electroless palladium baths, with 10 formulations. I have no experience with it, and it's certainly possible that none of the 10 are actually practical in production. If anyone has a commercial one available, I'd bet on it being Technic or DeGussa. Good luck.


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

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