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"Minimum service temperature for electroless nickel plating"

April 29, 2021

Q. Can anyone tell me or point me to data pertaining to the minimum service temperature for electroless nickel plating?

Substrate would be 6061 T6 Al. Electroless Nickel per AMS2404 [affil. link to spec at Techstreet], GRADE A, .001" CLASS 4 adhesion bake. The part would cycle between -80 °C and room temperature possibly on a regular basis.

- LANCASTER Pennsylvania

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April 2021

A. Hi James. I see no warnings against low temperatures for electroless nickel in such references as Mallory & Hajdu's "Electroless Plating" [affil. link to book on Amazon, ... on AbeBooks], Jack Dini's "Electrodeposition" [affil. link to book on Amazon, ... on AbeBooks], or Gawrilov's "Chemical (Electroless) Nickel Plating" [affil. link to book on Amazon, ... on AbeBooks]. And I think I see from a very quick look at Metals and Alloys for Cryogenic Applications- A Review that -80 °C isn't much colder than dry ice, whereas electroless nickel has been used at -183 °C to protect titanium from liquid oxygen.

So the question will probably not be whether electroless nickel can reliably endure -80 °C, but whether you can get sufficient adhesion to aluminum to withstand the high coefficient of expansion of aluminum vs. the low coefficient of expansion of electroless nickel. Hopefully some reader will volunteer practical experience but, pending that, it would seem to me that if the temperature difference from -80 °C to room temperature is 100 °C, and if you can use electroless nickel plated aluminum at 100 °C higher than room temperature, then you should be able to use electroless nickel in this application.

Luck & Regards,

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

April 29, 2021

thumbs up sign Make sense Ted. Thank you very much for your valuable input!

James Struck [returning]
- Lancaster Pennsylvania

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