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"Electroless copper vs. Wood's Nickel strike for stainless steel"

May 14, 2021

Q. Hello! Does anyone have experience using electroless copper (sodium hypophosphite) to replace Wood's Nickel Strike in preparation to deposit electroless nickel on AISI 430F stainless steel or another stainless steel? Is this good for preparing holes in stainless steel tubes for the back plating of electroless nickel?

Pedro de Araujo
- Itu SP Brazil
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May 2021

A. Hi Pedro. I have no experience in that, but doubt that it will work. To put us on the same wavelength, my understanding of the need for a nickel strike is this: plating will not adhere properly to surface oxides but instead must build metal onto metal whereas stainless steel instantly oxidizes. A Wood's nickel strike simultaneously dissolves that oxide while electrodepositing nickel onto it.

Although I could certainly be in error, I don't see anything in an electroless copper plating solution which will remove/dissolve the oxide coating on stainless steel.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
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