plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
Electroless Nickel Plating of Thin Parts
One of our contractors has inquired about the feasibility of plating a brass ring (having a thickness of 0.021-inch) with electroless nickel per MIL-C-26074 [link is to free spec spec at Defense Logistics Agency, dla.mil]. This is the engineering drawing requirement, but they feel the part is too thin to plate with a thickness of 0.0005-inch on each side. Has anyone plated something this thin to a thickness of 0.0005-inch before? Is it feasible?
Thank you,Marc Pepi
US Army Research Lab - APG, MD 21005-5069
First of two simultaneous responses-- 2000
Part thickness is only applicable from its ability to cary electricity if it is being electrocleaned or electroetched or electrostruck. Brass is a good conductor of electricity, so it should not pose a problem. This assumes that the part is substantial enough to withstand racking if any of the first paragraph apply.
I used razor blades for thickness checks (plate rate) and took them a lot higher than 0.0005James Watts
- Navarre, Florida
Second of two simultaneous responses-- 2000
Marc, I'm not sure if I understood your question, but 0,0005 inch is x25,4x1000 = 12.7 microns. In our shop we plate typically 4-7 microns with EN. So actually you have to immerse the detail longer than normal to achieve your desired thickness. SvenSven
Have you considered CVD as the solution?
Plating a piece of the dimensions you describe should be no problem. We have experience of coating with pure nickel a variety of complex shapes and sizes with a thickness from 0.5 microns to one inch. The ring can be heated to our deposition temperature (about 360deg.F) inside the deposition chamber and the nickel will deposit in a few minutes. The economics of this process are best achieved by depositing a similar thickness of nickel on several pieces simultaneously, if possible.
The process we use is chemical vapour deposition, which is not a "line of sight" process, so we can deposit inside cans or complex shapes uniformly. We deposit pure nickel and a brass substrate will bond very well with nickel in our process. Our process deposits nickel at the rate of 0.010" per hour and the resultant nickel coating is very uniform.
- Toronto, Canada