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"Brass plating on stainless steel"



Current question:

Ed. note: Please!
No abstract questions.
Huh?

December 1, 2021

Q. We are currently interested in coating our surgical instruments made of stainless steel with brass. We are expecting a minimum lifetime of at least 1 year for it so that it won't corrode or discolored in the meantime. So, what is the best way to do so and what precautions are generally required.

Muhammad Allah Ditta
Chemical Engineer - Pakistan
^


December 2021

A. Hi Muhammad Allah. Please tell us why you want to plate them with brass because that is what will determine what you should do.

If you're doing it just for the color, brass plating is the wrong answer. A PVD coating, perhaps with zirconium nitride or titanium nitride will be far more durable and much more satisfactory overall. If you are applying it because some biomedical benefit of brass is desired, that will mean you can't lacquer or clearcoat it, and it won't last without discoloration at all. If it's just for display, you can treat it with benzotriazole and lacquer or clearcoat it; but not being in the medical industry it's hard for me to envision what lacquered brass surgical instruments would be usable for.

Luck & Regards,

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




Closely related Q&A's, oldest first:

October 30, 2021

Ed. note: Please!
No abstract questions.
Huh?

Q. Hello,

What is the life time of stainless steel brass plating. In other words how many years the color of brass we keep the same shade for indoor and outdoor usage?

Sami zain
- Beirut, Lebanon
^


November 2021

A. Hi Sami.
Brass tarnishes almost immediately, so if you are doing real brass plating on stainless steel, you will need to apply a good clear coat to maintain the same shade at all. So if the brass plating is good quality, the life will depend only on how well the clear coat you select functions.

Are you the buyer, or seller, or working in the plating shop? And what is being brass plated? There are so many different ways for this conversation to go :-(

Luck & Regards,

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


November 1, 2021

Q. Thank you Mr. Ted.

The products to be plated are decorative lighting chandeliers suspended from ceiling or installed on walls. What are the clear coat options to maintain the same color for like 10 years for indoor or outdoor usage. Is there a specific brand to use and layer thickness.

Thank you

Sami zain [returning]
- Beirut, Lebanon
^


November 2021

A. Hi again Sami. There is a lot involved in brass plating on stainless steel, and there are many different sorts of clear coats: there is brass lacquer, which is made for brass and easily removed and renewed; it can probably last 10 years indoors if well applied, but I doubt that it generally lasts more than 2 or 3 years outdoors. There are single-component clear coats which are very easy to apply, and are not removed, but re-applied, and probably offer similar life. For greater life at additional complexity there are two-component clearcoats, probably best known as the clear coats on automobile paint. There are also radiation-cured/UV-cured clear coats such as used on automotive headlights, and this is probably the most complex because you must cure it as well as apply it.

As for how many coats, thicknesses, etc., that is going to depend on the technology you select and you'll probably want to work with the vendor of the coating you select. Some if not all of these technologies would probably benefit from you dipping the brass in a proprietary solution of sodium benzotriazole first.

We do not post recommendations of brands or sources ( huh? why?), but if you'd like to investigate with the vendors whether 10-year life is practical for the simplest approaches of brass lacquer or single-component clearcoats, G.J. Nikolas [a finishing.com supporting advertiser] and/or Everbrite [a finishing.com supporting advertiser] can probably help. Best of luck!

Regards,

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




Previous closely related Q&A's, oldest first:

February 15, 2008

Q. Hello,

I have an interest in Civil War Artillery. My question? Is it possible to plate a shiny brass finish over a steel cannon barrel?

Ken Creswell
hobbyist - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
^


February 21, 2008

A. Yes, certainly, Ken. But the body of your message says 'steel' and the title said 'stainless steel', and stainless steel requires a Wood's Nickel Strike before we speak of the rest of the plating process.

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


February 25, 2008

Q. Steel would be 4140 or 316SS

Ken Creswell
- Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
^


February 26, 2008

A. The plating sequence would probably be Wood's Nickel strike to get adhesion to stainless steel (and it wouldn't hurt the 4140), followed by nickel plating to impart the brightness, followed by brass plating. An alternative that would give you the color without the actual brass would be a tinted electrophoretic lacquer on the nickel plating (although this would not be suitable for an actual cannon that gets hot). You would have to find a plating shop which offers both the Wood's Nickel strike and the brass plating or the electrophoretic lacquer. Good luck.

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



August 13, 2008

Q. I am engaged in architectural hardware business. One of my customers is asking for stainless steel material in satin brass and antique brass finish.

What is the best method for achieving these finishes on stainless steel base material? I would appreciate any references to such finish processes. How does such a product compare with the original versions in 'solid brass' material?

Thanks for your attention!
Beijing

Ho Ming Yeung
manufacturer, trader - Hong Kong, China
^


September 2, 2008

Q. I would appreciate any information on brass plating of stainless steel, still have not found good info on this. Thanks!

Ho Ming Yeung [returning]
- Hong Kong
^


September 2, 2008

A. Dear sir,
If you want to do the brass plating on stainless steel first you have to do nickel strike plating then you go for the brass plating. Nickel strike bath contains nickel chloride and hydrochloric acid. generally nickel strike plating takes 2-5 min.

Shoban Kesarapu
Shoban Kesarapu
plating chemicals supplier - Secunderabad, A.P., India
^


September 3, 2008

Q. Dear Sir

Thanks very much for your reply! Is it possible to achieve a very similar colour to brass? Most of the samples I have seen looked very 'pale' and not very valuable.

Thanks!

Ho Ming Yeung [returning]
- Hong Kong
^


September 4, 2008

A. The nickel strike, commonly referred to as a Wood's Nickel Strike, is used as a base for subsequent plating. If you are trying to do a bright brass flash a Watts type nickel underplate is necessary. If you desire a "heavy brass" then you can plate that over the Woods Strike although I would personally prefer a short Watts Nickel plate.

Gene Packman
process supplier - Great Neck, New York
^


September 5, 2008

A. Sir,
If you want good brass finishing, after strike nickel plating you have to bright nickel plate, then go for brass plating -- then it appears good. Try it, good luck

Shoban Kesarapu
Shoban Kesarapu
plating chemicals supplier - Secunderabad, A.P., India
^



August 19, 2016

Q. Mr. Shoban Kesarupu:

Did this suggested idea work? I am looking for brass plating for eye hooks which are of Stainless Steel material.
Thanks!

Ashwini Joshi
- Pune, Maharashtra India
^


August 2016

"Electrocoating: a Guidebook for Finishers"
by Electrocoat Association
from Abe Books
or

Affiliate Link
(finishing.com may earn commission)

Hi Ashwini. Stainless steel can certainly be brass plated per above descriptions and lacquered. To reiterate, you need to start with Wood's nickel to get adhesion on stainless steel. Then you can either do just brass plating if you don't need shine, or you can do bright nickel plating followed by brass plating if you want a reflective shine. However, electrocoating the nickel plating with a lacquer with a brass tint might be easier and cheaper. Good luck.

Regards,

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


October 16, 2013 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Please tell me how I can get gold polish on stainless steel utensils.

Jayanti Mutha
- Chennai, India
^


October 18, 2013

A. Hi Jayanti. I'm not sure that I understand your question, but stainless steel can be nickel plated then brass plated or gold plated. Alternately, zirconium nitride, titanium nitride, and similar materials can be applied to stainless steel for brass or gold coloration by PVD processes.

Regards,

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



April 9, 2018

Q. Hello. Can I electroplate brass onto Stainless steel than put on a clear protective PVD coating? Is this the most durable finishing? What size restrictions would be for the PVD coating. Thanks.

mike wylie
- toronto ontario canada
^


"A User's Guide to Vacuum Technology"
by John F. O'Hanlon
from Abe Books
or
info on Amazon

April 2018

A. Hi Mike it's possible that shops have different size vacuum chambers, so I don't know the exact limits; probably not very big for fabricated parts, although I've heard of titanium nitride plated stainless steel sheets up to about 4' x 10'.

But I would not do brass plating and follow it with a PVD clearcoat. I'd just go directly for a PVD coating of titanium nitride or other material which delivers the tone you are looking for. You might google "titanium nitride stainless sheet"

Regards,

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


May 22, 2018

A. Zirconium nitride is used in the faucet and door industries for the brass finish.

jim treglio portrait
Jim Treglio - scwineryreview.com
PVD Consultant & Wine Lover - San Diego,
California

^



August 24, 2018

Q. Hello. I have a hotel project requiring stainless steel rails on a hairline brass finish. How do you do this? We find it very hard to find a company in my country who specializes on this. An expert answer will be much appreciated.

Rodolfo Velasquez Jr.
- Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines
^


August 2018

A. Hi Rodolfo. Unfortunately, I don't even know what you mean by "stainless steel rails on a hairline brass finish" and don't want to mislead you over the semantics of different geographical areas. Maybe you mean "... with a hairline brass finish", or maybe an auto-correct caught you and you meant "with a hairline brush finish"? If you can clarify exactly what finish you are seeking someone may be able to tell you how it's most commonly achieved. Thanks.

But as a starting point, stainless steel cannot be electrodeposited; brass can be electroplated onto stainless but, per earlier responses on this thread, most "brass-look" finishes on stainless steel are probably not actually brass but zirconium nitride deposited by PVD processes. Good luck.

Regards,

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


August 26, 2018

Q. Thank you sir mooney for the response. Let's say I have a high-polished and hairlined piece of grade 304 stainless steel flat bar, how do I change its natural color into a BRASS LOOK or BRASS COLOR?

Rodolfo Velasquez Jr. [returning]
- Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines [returning]
^


August 2018

A. Hi Rodolfo. Although it is possible to brass plate stainless steel, that is not how the color is usually achieved in architectural work. Rather, the stainless sheet or barstock is usually PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coated with titanium nitride or zirconium nitride in a vacuum chamber.

My understanding is that people don't generally buy the stainless and then seek a PVD coating service, but rather purchase the hairline finished colored stainless steel from a supplier. Although we don't recommend particular suppliers (why?), some typical pages that explain and illustrate the process that I am talking about are:

http://www.pacificplus.com/specs.htm
http://www.i-dsp.com/en/technology/titanium.php
http://www.globalpvd.com/en/productTi.html
http://www.rigidized.com/color.php
https://www.azahner.com/materials/ti-coated-stainless-steel

Regards,

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



January 10, 2021

Q. Hi sir.
I want to do brass plating on stainless steel or carbon steel. What should I do. Please lead me. Should I do nickel plating and brighten it first or should I do anything else.
Thanks.

Waqas ahmad
interior fabrication - Punjab Pakistan
^


January 2021

A. Hi Wagas. Stainless steel is more expensive and more difficult to brass plate than carbon steel, but is more corrosion resistant and will result in a higher quality product. I can't suggest which to use in the abstract though. If you tell us exactly what you want to build, advice might be available.

Is there no one in your country who can offer this service to you, because it's a bit complicated. The process will probably involve mechanical finishing, then alkaline cleaning, then an acid dip, Wood's Nickel strike, bright Watts Nickel plating, then brass plating (probably using poisonous cyanide), very careful rinsing, then clearcoating or lacquering.

Do you presently do any electroplating yourself?

As alternatives, some brass colored products are not actually brass plated, but are PVD coated with zirconium nitride or similar hard coatings. And some are only nickel plated then electrocoated with a translucent lacquer in a brass color. But these alternatives are not usually practical at very low volume. Good luck!

Regards,

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

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