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Avoiding hydrogen embrittlement by non-aqueous plating

June 3, 2008

Dear Sir,
I am a student of Physics and came across Hydrogen Embrittlement,
I know that one of the factors involved is water based plating solutions and electrolysis taking place. Free H is being formed on the Cathode and becoming trapped under the Zn.

Question in point, Would the development of a non water-based plating solution help reduce the H Embrittlement problem?

Brad Scudder
Student - Rockford, Illinois, USA

June , 2008

Hi, Brad, I think it would. Some plating has been done from molten salts and a lit search in that area might produce some results. Good luck.


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

I know that in the mid 1970's Dr. Abner Brenner was spending his "retirement" working on non aqueous plating processes. I do not know if anything was ever published about his work.

Gene Packman
process supplier - Great Neck, New York
June 9, 2008

What is wrong with mechanical plating? It has zero embrittlement.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida
June 10, 2008

There is currently increasing interest in the use of "ionic liquids" for electroplating. These are usually organic liquid mixtures that are capable of carrying an electric current. The technology has been successfully used to electrodeposit aluminium and other "non-plateable" metals. Their benefits are that they do not suffer from hydrogen evolution, so this reaction is eliminated from any electrochemical process, thereby allowing new metals to be electrodeposited. Since there is no hydrogen discharge, there is no risk of hydrogen embrittlement. Furthermore, these systems can be recyclable, but they are not always as cheap as conventional aqueous systems. Ionic liquids also have an electrochemical series, that is dependent on the ionic liquid being considered and is totally different to the conventional aqueous electrochemical series.

trevor crichton
Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK
June 11, 2008

High strength steel parts subject to marine environments such as naval aircraft landing gear are normally cad plated and baked then painted at the manufacturing facility. When the craft is on duty the paint and plating may get damaged exposing the substrate. The brush plating industry partly owes its growth to the success to formulate no-bake cadmium plating solutions used for in-situ repairs of this kind. The damaged parts can now be re-plated and painted without post-bake, sometimes still attached to the plane which can be put back to service immediately.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
June 16, 2008

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