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Titanium-Cadmium Plating Q&As

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Q. Does anyone know the benefit of using a titanium-cadmium coating in place of a cadmium coating? If possible I would like references to actual data. We are in the process of eliminating the majority of cadmium plating requirements from our parts. Unfortunately we have several parts which require a titanium-cadmium coating. Before we eliminate this coating we are trying to understand why it was specified over cadmium in the first place. Any help that can be provided will be appreciated. Thank you.

Blair Smith
aerospace - Windsor Locks, Connecticut

? Could you be referring to chemical vapor deposition of titanium carbide or some other of the new coatings being touted as a replacement for Cd plating?

Best regards,

tom pullizzi monitor   tom pullizi signature
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township, Pennsylvania

Q. Tom: I actually mean cadmium-titanium plating. This coating is covered by AMS2419 [affil link]. Thank you for your response.

Blair Smith [returning]
aerospace - Windsor Locks, Connecticut

A. Hi Blair

Titanium - Cadmium plating was developed by Boeing as an alternative to many other coatings that supposedly offer no hydrogen embrittlement. For the real inside info call Dave Kelly at ASCO products in Seattle; he has a bath and often installs baths and trains operators;and as far as I am aware he is the ONLY approved source of the Titanium additive .


John Tenison-Woods
John Tenison - Woods
- Victoria Australia

A. Thread #3575 mentions TiCd plating and another specification number.

"We have been TiCad plating per BAC5804 and Cad plating per AMSQQP416 [affil link] for years at this site ... "
-- so it might be worth your while to pop over and read the whole thing.

tom pullizzi animated    tomPullizziSignature
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township, Pennsylvania

A. I believe the primary benefit of Cad-Ti over Cad is lower susceptibility to hydrogen embrittlement. Apparently Titanium affects the grain size of the plate and thus the ability for hydrogen to escape in post plating baking operations. I am not aware of any data to support this, although I believe people in the Boeing Materials Group did a lot of the pioneering work in the 1960's. We have performed Cad and TiCad plating in this facility for about 10 years.

Q. I am curious what process you are changing to and the data you have to support those changes. The aircraft industry has historically been reluctant to remove cadmium plate, but we would entertain moving away from it also.

John Pease
aerospace - Shelby, North Carolina

A. Thanks John.
I could be in error, but for the benefit of readers who might misunderstand, I believe Ti-Cad is not an alloy of Titanium and Cadmium, but a composite coating where the tiny titanium particles are co-deposited and entrained in the cadmium plating.
Luck & Regards,

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

Shops that do Ti-Cad plating

Q. Please provide any information on vendors (job shops) that perform Titanium-Cadmium plating per MIL-STD-1500.

Phil DeMauro
actuation systems - Whippany, New Jersey

A. The following are Boeing approved sub-tier suppliers who perform Ti/Cad for aerospace applications.

Ward Barcafer, CEF
aerospace - Wichita, Kansas

Multiple threads were merged: please forgive repetition, chronology errors, or disrespect towards other postings [they weren't on the same page] :-)

Cadmium vs Zinc Electroplating

Q. In general, which plating process introduces the most hydrogen into a high-strength steel part: Cadmium electroplating or zinc electroplating? Is there a significant difference? In other words, which process poses the most risk for hydrogen-assisted cracking in the future?

Marc Pepi
US Army Research Lab - APG, Maryland

A. Neither standard bath is highly efficient, so both introduce the problem. Baking is the usual relief process, but some people who know more material science than I do say that the cadmium or zinc plating entraps the hydrogen so it can't easily get out.

Perhaps your best bet is a low embrittlement cadmium plating process, one which has pores to allow the hydrogen to escape. One I'm familiar with is Boeing's TiCad process; a small amount of titanium dissolves (or possibly is co-deposited and entrained as a powder) into the bath and, when plated, it makes the coating porous.

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

A. Both of the above replies are correct in many respects. First it should be noted that the preplate cycle can cause hydrogen adsorption both from acid pickling and if cleaning is done with the work anodic (not preferred). Secondly, chloride zinc plating, because it has a much higher efficiency, tends to have less embrittlement from hydrogen; however, frequently the deposit itself is brittle!

Gene Packman
process supplier - Great Neck, New York

Multiple threads were merged: please forgive repetition, chronology errors, or disrespect towards other postings [they weren't on the same page] :-)

Embrittlement from high speed cyanide cadmium solution

Q. We are cyanide cadmium plating a high strength 8740 alloy bolt (Rc50). I am investigating ways to reduce the amount of hydrogen in the part after embrittlement baking. Our current process uses 2.1 oz./gal cadmium and 15 oz./gal sodium cyanide. Our embrittlement bake is 375 °F for 72 hours within 1 hour of plating. We have looked at the "usual suspects" for embrittlement already, brightening impurities, time to bake, no acid processes, etc. We grit blast, rinse, cad plate at 5-10 ASF. Has anyone used a high speed cyanide solution (Cd 4.5 oz/gal, CN 9 oz/gal) for barrel plating of high strength steels? Was there any improvement in embrittlement vs. a standard cyanide solution? Does rack plating embrittle less than barrel plating?

Thanks for your assistance.

Brad Walters
plating shop - Huntington Beach, California, USA

(regarding defective Ti-Cad plating causing hydrogen embrittlement)

A. Search the site for TiCad plating, Brad. This is a cadmium plating bath that has a tiny dispersion of titanium particles in it which causes the cadmium deposit to be porous and highly permeable for the escape of the hydrogen.

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

Q. Ted. I neglected to mention that the customer requirement is AMSQQP416 [affil link], which doesn't allow Ti-Cad plating.

Brad Walters [returning]
Captive shop - Huntington Beach, California

Spring Plating

Q. I am fabricating a spring from steel music wire and would like to know if the following finishes will change the properties of the spring, such as the spring constant and if it will make it brittle, specially the CAD plating, which requires heat.

1- Steel Wire Cad Plated
AMSQQP416 [affil link] Type II Class 2

1- Zinc Plated Music Wire
ASTM B633 [affil link] Type II

Rafael Soldan
Aerospace Engineering - Wellington, KS, USA

A. There is no substitute for a good set of reference books if you are going to do engineering, especially aeronautical.
You will find that there will be some reductions in the original preplated parts when they are plated. A post plate bake is mandatory for either material. This bake is below the tempering temperature of the rod, so you will lose no more than 1Rc.
If the plating is done very well, I seriously doubt that you could measure the difference unless you have a great lab.
If you do not want to bake, use mechanical plating. No hydrogen embrittlement (unless you acid etch).

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

A. Both of those electroplatings (and their pretreatment steps of cathodic cleaning and acid pickling, if applicable) will cause hydrogen embrittlement. Proper baking for hydrogen embrittlement relief immediately after plating is essential.

There is a low embrittlement cad plating that co-deposits a titanium oxide slurry to provide paths for hydrogen escape. It's sometimes called Ti-cad. Sorry I don't think it complies with the AMSQQP416 [affil link] you are using.

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

White spots under Ti-Cad plating

Q. After a Ti-Cad treatment we received back some parts with some white "spots" under the surface. I read on Letter 26828 that the Ti-Cad plating "keeps the deposit from being continuous and allows the substrate to "breathe" to reduce hydrogen embrittlement".
Is there the possibility for which the more "porous" surface permits the humidity air penetration and this phenomena leads to some white spots "underskin"? May this be considered corrosion?


Or could it be a bad surface preparing process during the plating?
Thank you

Camilla Chianella
Plating shop employee - Italy
September 28, 2009

Can filtering cause hydrogen embrittlement in cadmium plating?

Q. Can a filtering issue in a cad tank contribute to hydrogen embrittlement? Or, will changing/cleaning the tank filter substantially change embrittlement testing results? I can see how filtering may impact adhesion, but I'm not certain how hydrogen embrittlement may be affected. Thanks.

Rob Ogden
- Jamestown New York USA
March 21, 2016

A. Hi Rob. I don't see why filtering a straight cadmium plating bath should reduce hydrogen embrittlement. On the chance that you have a Ti-Cad bath, though, we appended your inquiry to a thread on that subject. (In Ti-Cad plating, a slurry of small titanium particles is used in the cadmium plating bath. My understanding is that they are occluded into the deposit in a similar fashion to the way diamond particles are occluded into the nickel plating of tools; they offer an improved "ventilation" so that hydrogen can escape better. If you were to filter out the titanium particles, presumably you could cause a hydrogen embrittlement issue).

Please try your best to describe the situation confronting you? As you see, "what if" questions pull in a lot of ifs, ands, & buts.


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

Q. We use a sodium cyanide cadmium process, not ti-Cad. We test for hydrogen embrittlement monthly, per ASTM F519 [affil link] , recently had a cad plated hydrogen embrittlement test specimen fail at over 100 hrs into the test. The remaining three specimens all passed the 200 hrs requirement, and were then subjected to the additional step load test. One additional specimen failed .1 hours after reaching the 90% NFS threshold. Specimens from the same specimen lot, from our other processes, went through the bake with the cad specimens and these all passed the 200 hr embrittlement test. The operator suggested after the fact that the tank filter was dirty, and needed changing. Hence, my original question: Could/Would a dirty filter/clogged impact hydrogen embrittlement. Thanks

Rob Ogden [returning]
- Jamestown New York USA

A. Hi Rob,

Just going to ask for a couple of clarifications: the test pieces went through de-embrittlement (also called embrittlement relief) at the same time and temperature as the other test pieces? 1 off failed the load test at 100 hours and a further 1 failed at the higher load?

So places to look, as I don't think filtration of the cadmium plating tank is the problem (but don't discount it completely).
1. Are the test pieces flaw free? I had a problem a number of years ago where the test pieces suddenly started to fail and it turned out a new person was machining them, but was machining in a flaw, causing premature failure.
2. Check your de-embrittlement time and temperature and also the delay between plating and getting the test pieces in the oven. Again, mystery failure of a one off bath load a few years ago turned out that the operator missed the maximum delay time to get the parts in the oven and the embrittlement damage was already done, part failure was very rapid I must admit (less than 24 hours).
3. Check all of the pre-treatments. An electrolytic cleaner can actually cause test failures. Look at immersion times, chemistry, voltage (for electro-cleaners) etc.
4.Check your cadmium plating tank chemistry, plating rate, times and temperatures.

That should get you started in trying to identify the source of the failure.

Brian Terry
Aerospace - Yeovil, Somerset, UK

Q. Help please CAD gurus!

For TI-CAD plating on HSS (Aircraft MLG) ... is there a rule of thumb for permissible (localised) damage to cad plate ? E.g., size /area ratios /duration?

Due to size and location (and crap OEM design/ with clashing so damage will reoccur if touchup surface) localised touchup using LHE brush cad is not practicable.

Concern is possible hydrogen re-embrittlement at the exposed base metal (HSS). CAD plate is sacrificial but at expense of H creation at base metal (there is a Cranfield paper about this )...I suspect this is not a big deal if we keep base metal protected from moisture (i.e., source of H).

Doug Jeffries
Aerospace maintenance support (engineering) - Queensland Australia
October 27, 2018

Rough Titanium Cadmium plate

Q. We have recently carbon treated our TiCAD bath. Our plating finish on the parts is rough on our test panels. To confuse even more the ID on a part has a combination of rough and "perfect" smooth finish. Our Hull Cell panels (2 amps, 5 minutes) look nice. The HDI will slao not pass now. Any and all help is appreciated.

3892-2a   3892-2b   3892-2c   3892-2d   3892-2e   3892-2f  

Michael Clink
- California
April 16, 2020

Ed. note: Sorry, can't figure out the acronym or typo in "HDI will slao".

? Did you find what the problem is? And if so, how did you solve it? I am attached to the situation.

ella epstein
March 27, 2023

Q. How do we find out the Titanium content in Titanium-Cadmium electro plating solution? (Chemical analysis method)

Looking for the filter which allows the Titanium content back to solution? (Brand name/Model/Technical specification)

samy sks
Aerospace - Bangalore, INDIA
April 23, 2020

Ed. note: Technical specifications are welcome but we don't post suggestions of brand names or models (huh? why?)

Q. Did you find the answer to the question? I'm facing the same problem.

Titanium is currently analyzed by ICP and Spectrophotometer. However, there is no difference in titanium concentration before and after hydrogen peroxide add. I don't know how to analyze titanium dioxide used for Cad-Ti plating.

Also, we used 500 microfilter filter cartridges, but titanium is filtered.

- SACHEON, South Korea

A. I assume that you are doing work on Boeing parts per BAC5804. Their specification has the test methods for measuring titanium in solution and also titanium in plate. The methods are a bit complicated, but they both require a spectrophotometer to measure the end result at 420nm.

Jon Barrows
Jon Barrows, MSF, EHSSC
GOAD Company
supporting advertiser
Independence, Missouri

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