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topic 54976

Mysterious Black Nickel Plating on Copper

May 5, 2010

A zinc material is coated with a thin layer of copper and an unknown finishing on top. SEM and XRD results confirm nickel finishing. But the sample has a shiny black finishing. Is there any nickel finishing that contains solely nickel (and perhaps some amount of tin) that gives a shiny black finishing? After reading around on this website, it makes me question my results from SEM and my own interpretation of the finishing of my sample.

This has been bothering me for days since SEM results are relatively absolute regarding the elemental composition of the finishing.

Object of interest: Gillette Mach 3 Turbo handle.

Chris Ng
student - UK

May 17, 2010

Hi Chris

Many black Nickel electroplating solutions include organics in the nickel deposit to blacken it. You're not able to detect these with SEM XRD, as the contain N, H and sometimes S, and especially the N and H will not be detected.

Better try RBS SIMS and Auger analyses if you really are very curious.

Best regards,

Harry van der Zanden
Harry van der Zanden
- Budapest, Hungary

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