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topic 54340

Plating nickel over lead and brass




February 10, 2010

I have a customer that needs a part electroplated that is lead cast around a portion of a brass piece. I need to plate this in bright nickel. Do I need to use different activators for the lead and the brass? Also, will the nickel plate directly to the lead or is it necessary to plate copper first?

Dan Dregallo
Plating Shop Employee - Cambridge, Ohio


February 11, 2010

Lead forms insoluble salts with Hydrochloric and/or sulfuric acids. You must acid treat in about 30% fluoboric acid at room temperature. A copper strike is not necessary but a nickel fluoboric plating solution strike to cover the lead would be perfect. If you do use a simple watts type bright nickel, then "go in hot" so that you cover the lead before the chloride and sulfate start to form that insoluble salt.

robert probert
Robert H Probert
Robert H Probert Technical Services
supporting advertiser
Garner, North Carolina
Editor's note: Mr. Probert is the author of Aluminum How-To / Aluminio El Como
and co-author of The Sulfamate Nickel How-To Guide



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