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topic 43712

Diffference between Nickel Strike plate and Typical Nickel plating

A discussion started in 2007 but continuing through 2019


Q. I am trying to explain the difference between a Nickel Strike plating and a typical Nickel plating.

Mark Kane
TRW - Livionia, Michigan


A. Hi there:

Nickel strike: Higher content of chloride, is going to be used for direct plating of steel if cyanide copper is not requested. Content usually: Nickel chloride, HCl

Watt's Nickel: Is going to be used for decorative reasons. Content: Nickel sulphate (metal delivering), Nickel chloride (anode dissolving agent), Boric acid (ph-buffer agent), wetting agents and primary/secondary brightener systems depends on application.


Dominik Michalek
- Mexico City, Mexico


A. Thickness and adhesion.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


A. A "strike" is a low efficiency solution that makes more hydrogen gas than it deposits metal. The purpose is to "activate" (I hate that word) or remove the oxide from the substrate and lay down a thin film of very active ready-to-plate nickel. The hydrogen ion helps reduce the tenacious oxides of stainless steel or old nickel electroplate from the surface. Secondly, the strike acts as a "sewer". The strike covers the substrate iron, copper,. brass, zinc, zincate, etc so that when you get to the "efficient" plating solution you do not leave contaminants of those (now covered up) other metals.

robert probert

Robert H Probert
Robert H Probert Technical Services
supporting advertiser
Garner, North Carolina

July 26, 2019

Q. In such case, will the product have a higher risk of hydrogen embrittlement since more hydrogen is used? Will Nickel Strike process increase the chance of hydrogen embrittlement?

Willy Lim
- Singapore

July 2019

A. Hi Willy. Sorry, I don't personally know. Yes, more hydrogen is evolved, but the coating is thinner and less impervious to the hydrogen escaping as well. I suppose the situation actually is that you need to bake hard parts to relieve the embrittlement in either case.

Can you please give us your actual situation rather than asking the readers to speculate about what you might be doing and whether heavy nickel plating might reduce whatever problem you are experiencing or are concerned about potentially experiencing please :-)


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

July 29, 2019

Q. Hi Ted, thanks for responding. I have a situation where my customer wants to perform Zinc Plating instead of Nickel Plating on Stainless steel material. From my understanding, regardless of the type of plating, a layer of Nickel strike is required on stainless steel material.

Any plated product with high hardness and tensile is prone to hydrogen embrittlement if Pre & Post baking is not properly done. I believe Nickel strike which involve the use more hydrogen could potentially raised the risk for hydrogen embrittlement.

Is it possible to perform Pre & Post baking on Nickel strike before any plating? Will the post baking cause the Nickel Strike to lost it characteristic?

Willy Lim [returning]
- Singapore

July 2019

A. Hi Willy. You cannot bake in between the nickel strike and the zinc plating. You can still bake both before plating and after the zinc plating.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading

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