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Seeking Information and Standards for Nickel Plating Process

Q. I need information on standard Nickel Plating process with information like temperature of baths, soaking time for 10 micron thickness, etc. What is FED-QQN-290 (replaced by AMSQQN290 [affil link]) process standard and where can I get information on it?

Sridhar Mahadevan
medical systems - India

A. Hi, Sridhar. Although there are a number of different electrolytic nickel plating processes including Wood's Nickel Strike, Dull Nickel plating, Semibright, and Bright, plus alternate plating salts like chloride, sulphate and sulfamate, the most common plating bath is probably Watts Nickel -- which is nickel sulphate, nickel chloride, boric acid, and addition agents like wetters, carriers, and brighteners. The usual operating temperature is 140 °F. It operates at about 40 Amps per square foot, and you can determine the plating time for 10 microns by applying Faraday's Law to determine the Amp-hours required, and dividing by that current density.

We have a list of "must-have" books that will get you started with the data you need for nickel plating. We've hot-linked your mention of the spec to one source, but there are many other places to get it. Good luck.

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

Q. I need information on Nickel Electroplating process. I would like to know the amount of nickel consumption to a particular area on Cold Roll sheet of 0.35 MM thickness for 10.0 Micr. of coating (formula for calculating the nickel consumption).

- Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

A. Hi, Naresh. Electrolytic nickel plating is an equilibrium process in that nickel dissolves off of the anodes and into solution in exact balance to the amount of nickel plated out of solution (although I am not implying that that balance is automatic and requires no intervention or maintenance). Nickel is a metal of fixed density; it conserves its volume. So "do the math" of multiplying the area that you want to plate by the thickness of the plating, and that's the volume of nickel anodes that you will consume. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
February, 2009

October 8, 2012

Q. Good morning everybody,

We used to request some Nickel or nickel-phosphorous plating on copper plate (or AlSiC plate) and we would like to be able to define some specifications on our drawing (to ensure our supplier delivers a standard defined quality).

For electroless coating, I managed to find standard ASTM B733 [affil link] ["standard specification for autocatalytic (electroless) Nickel Phosphorous coatings on metal" ] but I didn't manage to find any equivalent standard for electroplated nickel coating?

Could someone tell me if this ATSM B733 standard is a good reference to ensure quality ?
Could someone tell me what could be the standard for electrolytic plating?

Thanks a lot for your support.

Matthieu Salland
product designer - Bruges, France

January 2014

Hi Matthieu. We appended your inquiry to this thread, implying that FED-QQN-290 (replaced by AMSQQN290 [affil link]) might have been a good spec to use for your electrolytic nickel. But that mil spec has been superseded by AMSQQN290 [affil link]. Good luck.


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

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