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"What process will deposit 300 series stainless onto copper alloy?"


I am a design engineer currently working on a engineering project designing a laboratory heating devise that is similar to a kitchen cooktop stove that will be subject to occasional acid spillage. The heated top will be constructed of a copper alloy to take advantage of it's good heat transfer and uniformity.
I am looking for a plating that would be equal to or better than 300 series
stainless steel from a corrosion stand point. I have two questions:
(1)Is there a process out there that will deposit a 300 series stainless steel
onto a copper alloy?
(2)Would electroless nickel plating be a candidate?

James R. Edwards
- Dubuque, Iowa


It is not possible to deposit stainless steel on a substrate via electroplating. The closest you can come, even in the lab but not in production, is alternating microlayers of chrome and nickel. But electroless nickel, or even electroplated nickel, might well be what you're looking for.

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


I'm looking for corrosion resistance data comparing 304 stainless steel with a electroless nickel plate on a 260 copper alloy. I'm interested in both salt spray and acid base test data. What are advantages and
disadvantages of each?

James R. Edwards
- Dubuque, Iowa


The only data that I know of directly comparing EN with 304 SS is a series of tests in food environments as follows (corrosion rates are in microns per year):

Coffee at 95C, EN = 6.2, SS = 1.2
Spagnetti sauce at 95C, EN = 8.1, SS = 1.6
Tap water at 95C, EN = 1.8, SS = 0.4
Vinegar at 22C, EN = 14, SS = 0.1
Milk at 60C, EN = 1.0, SS = 1.2
Grapefruit juice at 60C, EN = 0, SS = 0.1
Chicken broth at 95C, EN = 1, SS = 0.3

There is more data available on EN, but none of it compares the coating with SS.

Ron Duncan
Ron Duncan [deceased]
- 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.


I would only add that there are different grades of electroless nickel (low phos below 3%, mid 4-9%, high above 10%). Also, due to your application, the corrosion resistance must be evaluated in the heat treated condition and this will most always reduce it. Also worth to remember is that a thin plating will never match a solid material due of its thickness limitation.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico

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