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topic 4759

The best nickel?


What is the difference between sulphamate nickel, hard nickel and high sulphate nickel? Which one offers the best adhesion, wear resistant and hardness?

veronica dewis
- Miami, Florida


Adhesion is far more a question of proper preparation and pretreatment than of the kind of nickel plating solution used.

"Properties of Electrodeposited Metals and Alloys" [link is to info about book at Amazon] offers a 70-page chapter on the properties of nickel deposited under different conditions without (as far as I saw from a quick scan) using the term 'hard nickel' or 'high sulphate nickel'. So I'm not convinced that these are meaningful terms; these terms may be akin to "commercial zinc", which means absolutely nothing, or they may have some accepted meaning that I'm not familiar with.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Sulfamate (also spelled with a ph) is comparatively soft and ductile, so is a poor choice for many wear applications. It can be hardened, but bright nickel is harder so would probably be a better choice for wear when that is the ONLY consideration. Electroless nickel has the best wear capabilities of all nickels in 99+% of the applications.

Chrome is an alternative. Vapor deposited materials are alternatives. It really depends on the application-- the whole picture, not just one facet.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

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