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Anode material for nickel brush plating

June 3, 2010

For many years I have used graphite anodes for high speed nickel brush plating. Graphite works well but requires regular maintenance/replacement.
Will stainless steel provide longer anode life with reduced maintenance and if so what alloy works best?
Are there problems of anode dissolution/waste contamination associated with stainless steel anodes?
Will stainless steel contaminate/compromise plating layer?
Can stainless steel be platinized to improve performance/extend anode life?
Lots of questions, any advice would be appreciated.

Mike Ward
Engineer - Whitter, California

June 9, 2010

Hello Mike,

According to the MIL-STD and most other commercial process specifications; The anodes that are used for brush electroplating need to be either graphite, platinum/iridium or platinum clad titanium. If graphite is used there is the problem with wear as graphite will degrade after awhile. the key here is to use a dense high purity graphite with a minimum bulk density of 1.74 g/cc and a max grain size of 0.008 inches (again according to the mil-std)

Using a stainless steel anode to plate can cause issues with the plating deposit as this will degrade over time and the alloying metals will be deposited on the nickel surface, this is why it is not recommended for a brush plating anode.

In some cased stainless anodes can be used for etching but it is never recommended for the plating process

Chris Helwig
- Valencia, California

February 16, 2012

Our side uses Stainless Steel rod as anode for immersion nickel and copper plating in one line. I need to plate the inside of a pipe connector so the anode be put in the center of the connector.

Problem here that SS anode corrode fast and I don't know whether they contaminate to solutions or not.

Can I change to Graphite Anode? And what is the ratio between Anode : Cathode?

Khuong Han
- Vietnam

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