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Nickel plating/electrodeposition on alumina dispersion-strengthened Cu alloy

Q. Hi everyone!
Recently, I try to electroplate Ni on the alumina dispersion-strengthened Cu alloy. However, the adhesion between Ni coating and Cu alloy substrate is very poor. Two kinds of solution: dilute sulfuric acid (200 g/L) and the mixture of dilute sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide were used for the Cu alloy substrate pickling. After pickling, the substrate was cleaned by deionized water. Can you give some suggestions for the pre-treatment of the alumina dispersion-strengthened Cu alloy prior to Ni electrodeposition.

Yan Lin
- Wuhan China
January 19, 2022

"Electroplating Engineering Handbook"
by Larry Durney
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January 2022

A. Hi Yan. I have no experience with plating onto that material but I do know that you can only plate onto metal, not aluminum oxide. You might try immersing the item into strong caustic soda [affil links] to dissolve away the aluminum oxide on the surface before your sulfuric acid dip. If that doesn't do it, you may need to do a zincate immersion, as is used in plating onto aluminum.

Luck & Regards,

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

Q. Hi Ted. Thanks for your suggestions! For the alumina dispersion-strengthened Cu alloy, alumina particles are of a few of tens of nanometers in diameter, and homogeneously dispersed in the Cu matrix. I wonder whether the caustic soda [affil links] immersion or the zincate immersion is useful? Is there any suitable solution for processing this kind of ODS Cu prior to electrodeposition?

Best regards!

Yan Lin [returning]
- Wuhan China
February 7, 2022

"Modern Electroplating"
by F.A. Lowenheim
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February 2022

A. Hi again, Yan. In thread 42968, "Nickel strike on Glidcop and brazing", people report satisfactory nickel plating on alumina dispersion-strengthened copper alloy. You might find some hints there.

Luck & Regards,

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

February 13, 2022

A. You cannot nickel plate on aluminum directly, you have to do zincating on aluminum, then electroless nickel, then electro copper strike, nickel plate.

popat patel
Popatbhai B. Patel
electroplating consultant - Roseville, Michigan

February 14, 2022

thumbs up sign Hi, Popatbhai!
Sorry for misunderstanding! Here, the substrate is not aluminum. The substrate is copper alloy that is dispersion strengthened with 0.5 wt% ultrafine particles of aluminum oxide. Anyway, thanks for your suggestion!

Yours sincerely!

Yan Lin
- Wuhan China

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