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"Is MIL-P-18317 Plating RoHS Compatible"

October 5, 2016

Q. Is there anything in this spec that helps with ROHS compliance on a part? If not does anyone know if this process is compliant or where a cert could be obtained?

Peter Foster
engineer - New Castle, Delaware

October 2016

A. Hi Peter. You may know more about this than me, but my understanding is that at present RoHS is concerned with cadmium, lead, mercury, and hexavalent chrome (and a few organic materials).

It is possible that the brass parts you are applying this to are not RoHS-compatible due to excessive lead. The plating bath mentioned as typical in Mil-P-18317 [link is to free spec at Defense Logistics Agency, dla.mil] is a thiocyanate bath, and none of the RoHS-incompatible materials are mentioned ... but the spec does say that other baths can be used, so I suppose it is possible that the parts could be plated in some non RoHS-compatible fashion. That spec has not been revised in 60 years; it was published before "Silent Spring", let alone RoHS, so it just doesn't concern itself with such issues at all.

To my understanding, certs come from the plater, so I'm not quite understanding the difficulty in getting a cert about the plating. I think if you would detail your own actual situation rather than presenting an abstract proposition we could probably be more helpful. Good luck.


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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
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