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topic 34092

Zinc Potassium/Ammonium chloride vs Potassium chloride/boric

A discussion started in 2005 but continuing through 2019


Q. I wonder what are the advantages/disadvantages of using zinc chloride plating solution that is based in Potassium Chloride/Ammonium Chloride against Potassium Chloride/ Boric Acid.

Thanks Gracias

Guillermo Castorena
Jobshop plating - San Luis Potosi, SLP, Mexico


A. Hello Guillermo,

I switched about 1 1/2 years ago and I must say I won't be going back. Some of the everyday problems we used to see went away. The anodes don't seem to film up, we don't have to shake them down, no polarization, throws a bit better in the LCD areas, better temp tolerance (although that depends on your brightener....oh yes, you will probably have to switch brighteners...but mine was just a slide in conversion), all around better in my experience.

I'd give it a try if you have the luxury.

Trent Kaufman
Trent Kaufman
   electroplater - Galva, Illinois



ajay raina
Ajay Raina
Ludhiana, Punjab, India


thumbs up signThanks both of you for the answers.

Indeed I am aware that potassium/ammonium chloride has operating benefits however waste water treatment gets the negative side. That is why I am wondering if the operating benefits overweigh the extra costs in the water treatment.

Thanks a lot. Gracias!

Guillermo Castorena
Jobshop plating - San Luis Potosi, SLP, Mexico


A. Raina has a good point and it was a concern. We monitored it closely. It did have a slight negative effect on precipitation. We added an aluminum sulfate mixture to our primary treatment tank and that seemed to handle the problem.

So far, so good.

Trent Kaufman
Trent Kaufman
   electroplater - Galva, Illinois


thumbs up signThanks a lot for the answers and the advice, guys!

That helped me a lot.


Guillermo Castorena
Jobshop plating - San Luis Potosi, SLP, Mexico

October 9, 2012

Q. I am managing a acid zinc (ammonium chloride) plating bath. My company is considering converting the bath from ammonium chloride to boric acid. What things should we consider before converting? Can we simply add boric acid and potassium chloride? Do we need to perform a treatment to eliminate the ammonium component of the bath? Are their common problems that we need to be prepared for?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Alex Vega
Lab Manager - Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

May 16, 2019

Q. Hello everyone!

We have switched about two months from potassium chloride/boric to potassium chloride/ammonium chloride because of boron content in our wastewater. We have encountered some troubles, and I need your help solving some of them:

1) conductivity is improved, but throwing power decreased to levels we are concerned. We plated 200 kg of small parts in 80 minutes, but we need to lower the load and give some more time to achieve the same old result there.

2) turbidity. We have filtered the bath 4 or 6 times a day in old times. We need to filter every hour to get a clear bath. And it doesn't get clear with this either.

3) burns and blistering. HCD areas tend to burn easily, and blistering of this areas after baking is more usual than before. We have an excess of brighteners today because we needed to improve throwing power and burning, but we think we have misread the causes.

So, we are working today in adjusting pH around 5.5-6, filter the organic excess (permanganate and activated carbon), and try to stabilize the results...

We can use an outside insight on this one!

Thank you very much in advance. Best regards!

Daniel Montanes
N. Ferraris S.A. - CaƱuelas, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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