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"Electroplating monel alloy on steel"

An ongoing discussion beginning back in 2004 ...


Q. Monel (Ni-Cu alloy)is an excellent alloy against HF environment. I want to electroplate it in lab on steel. I plan to electroplate alternate layers of Ni & Cu or Cu/Ni (I don't know if there is any difference?) and then subsequently heat treat it--from different baths of Ni/Cu solutions or from same bath. In any case what should be the solution compositions and operating parameters. If electroplating is not possible then is there any simple (not more costly then electroplating )lab preparation method available? . Any kind of results from plating are acceptable.

Mazhar Ul Islam
student - Islamabad, Pakistan

"Electrodeposition of Alloys: Principles & Practice"
by Abner Brenner
from Abe Books

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A. Such things are very difficult, but not necessarily completely impossible.

The trick, if I can be so cavalier as to write off something so difficult as "a trick", is that copper will deposit preferentially from simple salt solutions, due to being more noble by 0.6 volts, so you must chemically complex it in a workable fashion.

There is no substitute for Brenner's exhaustive tome, "Electrodeposition of Alloys", which has a whole chapter just on copper-nickel and copper-iron alloys. It might be available in a university library.

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

How to do cupronickel plating

November 21, 2016 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I've been unable to find cabinet hardware in a cupronickel/copper-nickel finish. Therefore, aside from casting my own, I'm wondering if it would be possible to do a cupronickel plating. What would happen if you put both a copper AND nickel sulfate into the water?

Ryan Mathew
Hobbyist - Blaine, Minnesota, USA

November 2016

A. Hi Ryan. Sorry I think there is no chance of that working. There is a 0.6 volt difference between copper and nickel, which means the deposit will be essentially 100% copper even when you mix equal quantities of copper & nickel into the solution. I'd suggest looking into patinas of some sort for decorative purposes. Good luck.


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

May 19, 2020

A. This study shows alloy plating of Nickel and Copper. They use Copper Sulfate, Nickel Acetate and Boric Acid.

Sammerr A AL-Badani
- San Antonio

May 2020

A. Thanks for waking me up, Sammerr. By using significantly higher concentrations of nickel than copper, it is possible! They used 1.6 M nickel acetate and 0.1 M copper sulphate. I'm not acquainted with the deposition of useful cupronickel finishes though, and can neither say that it is practical to plate cupronickel nor that it isn't. Hopefully another reader will reply.


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

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