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Stripping Gold and Electroless Nickel from Aluminum Alloys

I am looking for suggestions for an acidic, gold stripper that will not harm/alter aluminum alloys. I have an aluminum alloy part (made from Osprey CE9) that I plated with electroless nickel and gold. My customer discovered that the part configuration was machined wrong and it went back to the tool room where modifications were made to the plated part. I now need to replate the machined surfaces of this part for solderability reasons. I would like to strip the part back to base metal before replating, but Enstrip L-90 that I had used in the past to strip this combination of plating from aluminum has been reformulated. It still does a good job of stripping nickel, but it will no longer strip the gold plate, too. I don't have time to allow it to undercut the gold plate by mining out the nickel layer. I fear if I try to mask off the existing plated surfaces I will have problems at the interface between the two plated areas from under cutting of the exposed nickel plating layer when the part goes back through the aluminum preplate cycle which involves nitric and nitric/ammonium bifluoride solutions prior to zincate coating.

Terry Mooney
- Kansas City, Missouri, USA

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