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topic 5289

Novice Plating Problems with Nickel Bath


I am a novice at Nickel plating. On my first mandrels, I got nodules and "specs". What could have caused that? Also, how does one remove metal particles from the bath or to maintain the purity of the bath? Finally, if Ti is used at the anode, the provide contact for the Ni, will that present a problem eventually?

Razi Hassan
Alabama A&M University - Normal, Alabama


Nodules and specs may be that is foreign muck from anodes so pl. check for torn anode bags; if found replace it with new. And also check your filtration system that might be skipping carbon,.

Regarding metallic impurities you dummy the bath at 3.2 0.2 amps/Dm2. If brownish yellow to the walls of the tank or to anode bags it is due to Iron contamination so treat the bath at 5.2 pH with KMnO4 or with Hydrogen Peroxide. Nickel carbonate is used to raise the pH.

Panjala Mukesh Panjala Mukesh
     fashion jewelry mfgr.
Hyderabad, India

May 15, 2010

Hi, Razi. As a self-proclaimed novice you may not realize that there is more to a nickel plating solution than the nickel sulfate, nickel chloride, and boric acid. Addition agents are required including carrier, brightener, and anti-pit.

The easiest approach, used by production plating shops, is simply to buy the nickel plating solution from a supplier specializing in it, who will include all these necessary addition agents as proprietaries, and will help you get it working right.

But if you want to use your own home-made solution, the ASM Metals Handbook, Volume 5, "Surface Engineering" has an excellent chapter on these addition agents. Good luck.


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

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