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Our nickel plating on copper & brass suddenly started peeling

March 1, 2022

Q. Sir,
We are doing barrel nickel plating on brass bronze metal and ETP copper. From last two days we are facing peel off problem from base but our cleaning & activation process is good.

Our nickel bath concentration is
Metal -61 gm/l
NiCl2- 59.45 gm/l
HBO3- 39.57 gm/l
NiSO4-221 gm/l

Peel off is also observed in Hull cell test. Please suggest us what to do for solving this issue?

Sureshwar Kumar
Sr.Production Supervisor - Vapi Gujarat, India

A. Hi Sureshwar. If Hull Cell panels are peeling it does suggest that the problem lies in the nickel bath rather than cleaning & activation. I would suspect that for some reason, your nickel bath is now depositing an extremely stressed deposit. When the nickel peels, are the peelings more or less flat or do they curl up, indicating very high stress levels?

I would suggest carefully auditing the supposed additions in the last few days to see if there is a possibility of a rogue addition that your analysis does not analyze for.

Photos of peeled parts, peelings, and/or Hill Cell panels to for posting here would probably help.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
March 2022

March 1, 2022

Q. Respected sir, thank for your sharing details. As you discussed, with below mail we have attached nickel Hull cell panel photo. Please suggest what to do to avoid such issue?


Sureshwar Kumar [returning]
Sr.Production Supervisor - Vapi Gujarat, India

A. Hi. That nickel plating looks to have outrageous tensile stress. Has it actually badly warped the Hull Cell panel or am I misunderstanding the photo? I am not a hands-on nickel plater, so I can only be of limited help, but I still suspect a wrong addition of something you're not checking for, like maybe zinc.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
March 2022

? Suresh, please tell me
1) It's Nickel Sulphamate or Nickel Sulphate plating?
2) What is the Temperature and pH of Bath?
3) Mention Precleaning details?

R Muniraju
Sr.Chemist Plating - Bangalore, Karnataka, India
March 19, 2022

A. Hello there!

I believe high concentrations of organic additives, mainly brightener, could cause peeling. I get this kind of burn in the HCD area when too much brightener or wetter is added.

Have you tried carbon treating your bath and/or your sample before doing the Hull Cell test again?

Pedro Franco
Chemical Engineer - Nova Friburgo, RJ, Brazil
March 21, 2022

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