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How to make nickel sulphate for plating

⇦ (tip: readers rarely show interest in abstract questions, but people's actual situations usually prompt responses)   smiley face

Q. Hi,

Trying to make a plating solution. First I want to dissolve nickel strips in diluted sulfuric acid. With hydrogen peroxide it's starting to turn green. But the pH level is too low, below 2. According to chemical formula 2 mol sulfuric acid is needed for 1 mol nickel. Diluted in water.

Is this the correct way to make a solution?

Tim L.
- Germany Berlin
June 17, 2023

Ed. note: Welcome! and feel free to read everything here anonymously!
But our 30-year+ legacy of community isn't compatible with anonymity; please don't post unless free to use your real name & town :-)

A. Hi Tim. Please introduce yourself because at one extreme elementary school children can make a nickel plating solution to produce a little bit of shading for a school science project, and at the other extreme the continuous casting molds for steel-making are nickel plated and a plating failure can cause a half million dollars of damage and more in a literal heartbeat. And in between are hobbyists, decorative plating needs, etc., comprising the full spectrum of needs. So it truly matters who you are, and why you want to do this :-)

While we're awaiting that feedback from you, let me start by saying something that infuriates the hobbyist sector: you can buy nickel plating solution all ready to go, and it's surely the best way to get good nickel solution. The second-best way to go is to formulate it from nickel sulphate, nickel chloride, boric acid, and generic wetters and brighteners. The way to make the lowest quality nickel plating solution is to try to make it from nickel metal ... but no, the mol ratio is not 2:1, it's 1:1 because the compound is NiSO4.
Luck & Regards,

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

Q. Hi Sir,

I am just a hobbyist and want to refinish 2 used 2-stroke cylinders. I don't do this commercially, it's just for me. Refinishing cylinders here in Germany costs as much as a new one. They are 125 cc cylinders.

And I don't cast aluminium cylinders, I just want to refinish them for my own purposes. The bore is already prepared and the rest of the surface is covered.

I have read much about plating, and one way is to dissolve nickel in acid. So I went to buy amidosulfuric [ed. note: amidosulfuric = sulfamic] acid powder, 99% purity which is also used in delacers.

According to wikipedia, dissolving nickel in that way is possible. Added an oxidizer and it started to turn green. Filtered out impurities and the solution looks clean emerald green. But pH level is at about 2, too acid.

Here is the chemical formula:

Even If I dissolve a small spoon amidosulfuric acid in 1 l water the pH indicator turns red.

Tim L. [returning]
- Germany Berlin
June 18, 2023

A. Hi again Tim.
Amidosulfuric acid is not the same thing as sulfuric acid -- it is sulfamic acid (although I admit to not recalling ever having heard the term 'amidosulfuric'). So, in that case it is true then that the ratio is two mols of acid to one mol of nickel because the compound is Ni(NH2SO3)2.

You are certainly welcome to do anything you wish without my comments or judgement, but I personally think your chance of success is so close to zero approaching the project this way, regardless of the amount of time and effort you put into it, that I'd prefer not to waste our time :-(

Instead, I suggest that you start with this youtube video. Good luck!


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

⇩ Closely related postings, oldest first ⇩

Q. Hello my name is Peter Wood I work in antique metal repairs. I would be very grateful if you could please tell me how to make nickel sulphate for plating as it is not easy to obtain in UK (only in large amounts). I do make my own copper sulphate [on eBay or Amazon]and silver chloride. Many thanks,

Peter Wood
The Stables - Polegate, East Sussex, UK

A. Dissolve it in concentrated sulfuric acid, then evaporate resulting liquid; nickel must be very pure, or use nickel anode and diluted sulfuric acid electrolyte (and same process, when solution is saturated evaporate it). Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia


A. Peter
If you cannot get nickel sulphate, you probably have difficulty getting nickel metal to make it from too.
As a practical suggestion.
1/ look up electroplaters in yellow pages.
2/ Phone them and ask for their chemist.
3/ Arrange a lunchtime meet in his local ale house
4/ Place a pint of beer in his hand and state your problem.

I am a bit puzzled what you need silver chloride for?

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England

A. Go here, easy to set the items needed and it works okay:

J. Foreman
- Nottingham, UK.
May 23, 2014

Cannot make nickel sulphate, problems with solution


Q. I am trying to make nickel sulphate. The first smaller glass jar I used first turned to a pastel green while it reduced to almost half the jar. After toping off with pure %35 sulfuric acid for the other half, the nickel turned to a clear turquoise color which in turn became crystals of nickel sulphate.

Skip ahead, the larger solution which has a great deal of nickel in it, also has turned a pastel color which it has remained, under heat, for 3 days. I transferred it from a 64 oz jar, following the addition of 35% sulfuric acid, some distilled water, as well as some of the remaining (not yet crystallized) nickel sulphate solution and I still have an insoluble solution. Everything in it is just as pure as the original and from the same batch. I don't know what else to do to convert from (what I can only assume is nickel hydroxide) to nickel sulphate. Is there a specific PH for which nickel sulphate is created? Could it be too low? What else could I do to help along the change to Nickel sulphate? I would rather not require dumping the whole solution. Please help.

Brandon Blair
- Dallas, Texas
November 17, 2020

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