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I want to plate a nickel film with a controlled stress

(-----) 2006


I want to plate a nickel film onto steel with a controlled amount of compressive stress (~100 MPA ± 20%)in the nickel. I want excellent adhesion of the nickel to the substrate, and want the nickel film to be moderately ductile. Can someone suggest the best plating process for achieving this process, and what variables need to be controlled to keep the stress within the required tolerance?


Dean Barker
Electronics mfr - Santa Clara, California, USA


Most plating is tensilely stressed, and anything in the compressive range is fairly uncommon. So 14,500 psi compressive is quite unusual, I think. I don't know how to do it, but a consult with Safranek's "Properties of Electrodeposited Metals and Alloys" [affil. link to book on Amazon] might be fruitful.

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


That is a wild number. Aerospace tends to use 5000 compressive as a maximum.
I assume that you are using a sulfamate bath. would be nice if you included more details.
Two ways that I am aware of is using an additive like saccharin (extremely carefully as a trace goes a long way) and by using a platinized anode for part of your anode setup or in a continuous dummy. You can vary the amperage to control the stress. Normal plating goes tensile, so when you get it where you need it, it will only take a low amperage to maintain. I used a 5v 5A power supply with a 6" x 1/18 rod and a small ss plate for the cathode.
Note that what you want will require a constant monitor of the stress or very frequent contractometer testing or possibly stress tabs after you calibrate them.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


What is the substrate and the purpose of the part and plating? Some substrates only allow a marginal adhesion no matter how well preped. Depending on that, it may prove impossible to attain such a high stress without pulling the plate off.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico

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