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topic 36668

Nickel plating of copper mould plates for continuous casting

A discussion started in 2005 but continuing through 2019


Q. Hi,
I am a manufacturer of continuous casting mould plates for steel plants. I used to make bare plates but since the molten steel is sticking onto the copper, the customer & I feel we should plate our moulds with Nickel? How much thickness of plating must I do on my copper mould to achieve sufficient non-stick properties and increase wear resistance while sacrificing thermal conductivity minimally. Should I plate as electro or electroless?




A. Electrolytic nickel, not electroless nickel. You probably want to hook up with someone who already knows how to do this, and buy or license the technology, Sumit. There is a lot to it, and trial & error is unacceptable because of the stupendously expensive accidents that can happen due to poor adhesion on a large continuous casting operation.

Many of the people who know even a little about it (me for one) are bound by non-disclosure agreements and court orders. I'm not permitted to tell you what I know, but I can tell you that I don't know a fraction as much as many people know :-)

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


A. Hello Sumit,

What are the dimensions and weights of the plates in your picture?

We could do both electrolytic or Electroless Nickel for you.

Khozem Vahaanwala
Khozem Vahaanwala
Saify Ind supporting advertiser
Bangalore, Karnataka, India

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A. Mr. Dhody,
In that business you cannot follow your or your customer's "feelings". You need to know. The answer to your question dates back at least thirty years. As stated by Ted, there's been a lot of research and development in the field and most is covered by patents or simply well kept in secret. There are at least a dozen different processes and arrangements specifically designed and tailored for the different copper molds from the smallest ones used for wire and re-bar to the state-of-the-art high-speed thin-slab caster broad and narrow plates. Take Ted's advise and hire an expert.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico

March 27, 2012

A. Dull nickel plating is a better option. You can do nickel coating thickness up to 1 mm and the vickers hardness can be nearly 400 to get higher thermal conductivity as well as better wear resistance.

- bangalore, India

July 24, 2014

A. Any company can do the electroless nickel coating FOR COPPER PLATES in Saudi Arabia or any company in GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).

ibrahim al-dossary

July 2014

thumbs up signHi cousin Ibrahim. Certainly there are companies in Saudi Arabia and GCC that can do it. But I'd hesitate to agree that "any" company there can do it. I've been to dozens if not hundreds of plating shops which I would not trust to do the nickel plating on continuous casting molds :-)


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

Plating on copper parts for steel milling machinery

June 22, 2019 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. We are looking for a way to achieve highest heat-resistant and wear-resistant coating having and improve the service life of copper crystallizer.

These parts called Copper Crystallizer used for steel milling. Currently, we are looking at Dr. Wenhua Hui's findings in Nanometer electroplating.

His discovering says it can reach hardness HV800-1000 under HV0.05 thickness. The parts are called Copper Crystallizer. Please kindly provide technical info for hardness and wear-resistance. The purpose is to achieve highest heat-resistant and wear-resistant coating and improve the service life of copper crystallizer.


- North Brunswick, New Jersey

June 2019

? Hello Daniel. This is too vague for me. Are you talking about nickel electroplating, or any kind of coating/cladding/construction whatsoever? I don't understand what a "copper crystallizer" is -- it generally means a device for removing crystals of copper sulphate from solution -- what has this to do with 'milling' -- are you copper plating end mill tool to selectively prevent carburization, or are you chemical milling the steel? What is the chemical exposure if any? What limits the 'service life' of the copper crystallizer? Do you need heat resistance of thousands of degrees? Can you point us to the article by Dr. Hui that you speak of? Thanks!


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

June 22, 2019

Q. Dear Sir,
It is about Nanometer electroplating. Any solution formula can achieve satisfactory hardness result to treat copper parts? Here is the link about the production we talked about:

Here is the link for Dr. Hui's US patent.

DANIEL CHAO [returning]
- North Brunswick, New Jersey

June 2019

A. Hi Daniel. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the page you refer us to has a significant error that confused you! The bulk of that page, including the pictures, discuss a "crystallizer" as the type of equipment I mentioned for removing crystals of copper sulphate (for example) from saturated solutions of the salts.

But the beginning of the page says a 'copper crystallizer' is what most people would call a "continuous casting mold", so we appended your inquiry to a thread on that subject. I think calling a continuous casting mold a 'copper crystallizer' was just a mistake on that page and 'copper crystallizer' actually has nothing to do with your inquiry at all :-)

Continuous casting molds are blocks of copper with passages for coolant recirculation. Molten steel enters one end of the blocks and comes out the other end cooler and formed into a shape, rather similar to the way extruders work. The surfaces of the mold exposed to the molten steel do indeed require plating, and some variation of nickel plating is probably the most common.

I was an expert witness, sworn to secrecy, on a theft-of-trade-secrets court case about proprietary plating processes for continuous casting molds so I cannot comment further except to note that the consequences of defective or non-adherent plating can be astronomical, so I would not even consider plating continuous casting molds with Dr. Hui's process unless he claims to have done so, nor without truly careful evaluation. I don't know if there is any plating job in the world more likely to lead to a catastrophic failure than the plating of continuous casting molds for a steel mill :-(

If you haven't done this plating before, please hire or retain an expert.

Luck and Regards,

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

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