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topic 60929

Plating the ID of a mm ID stainless steel

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January 29, 2019

Q. We have a medical grade application using a stainless steel tube with ID =1.1mm and length =11.4mm where we pass IR laser light through it. Is it possible to coat the inside of the tube with either silver or gold? If so, how do we go about doing this (We don't have the means to do this in-house)? Thanks in advance.

Roni Cantor-Balan
R&D Engineer - NEEDHAM, Massachusetts, USA
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January 2019

A. Hi Roni. Although all things are supposedly possible, it doesn't seem very practical to me considering the many things you are fighting: tiny diameter nearly impossible to electroplate ... stainless steel very difficult to activate for plating or electroless plating ... hard to know whether the gold plating completely covered the ID or missed some spots ...

Have you considered the possibility of reversing the sequence, i.e., starting with a 1 mm wax or other meltable mandrel, then gold electroplating it for your IR needs, and then nickel or nickel-cobalt electroforming the structural tube on top of the gold instead of making it from stainless steel and trying to gold plate the inside?


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

January 29, 2019

Q. Hi Ted, I have just learned of the option you are suggesting and it seems to be quite an expensive one for our application. I also just learned that if the length of the tube is more than twice its diameter then electroplating is nearly impossible. I would be happy though to receive quotes from vendors who have the capability to perform electroforming of this size.

Roni Cantor-Balan [returning]
- NEEDHAM, Massachusetts, USA

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January 29, 2019

A. It might be simpler to use gold or silver tube provided all other requirements(?) are met.

H.R. Prabhakara
Bangalore plasmatek - Bangalore, Karnataka, India

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