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topic 9246

Is Electroless Ni resistant to Sulfuric based Etch solutions?

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Q. I have an Electroless Nickel plated Invar component that I would like to selectively cover with a rust inhibiting primer. The primer manufacturer suggests that the primer will have better adhesive properties if the surface is chemically pre-treated vs. mechanically.

My question: Is an Etch solution (Ferric sulfate/sulfuric acid) safe for the electroless surface?

Marta O [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
space systems - Sunnyvale, California, USA

July 2012

A. Hi Marta.

While electroless nickel is corrosion resistant, those etch solutions are deliberately designed to be highly aggressive and I doubt that it is "safe" even if the plating offers some temporary resistance. I think an organic masking material on the electroless nickel, such as would normally be used as an etch resist, will prove necessary.

If this is a one-time thing, I would definitely use masking. If you are designing a process, however, please test it in the lab rather than designing it based on my untested theory :-)

Luck and Regards,

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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