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topic 9568

Electroless nickel problem with make-up of RO water


Q. We have recently switched from DI (de-ionized) water to RO (reverse osmosis) water, and encountered problems with skip plating during electroless nickel plating. What would be the mechanism, or what is in the RO water that would cause this problem?

Patricia Frisch
electronics - Honeoye Falls, New York


A. I believe skip plating is caused by metallic contamination in the electroless bath.

Mary Ross
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


A. There are many factors that will effect EN solutions. Since you had no problem with DI water but are having problem with RO water you should check the water for organic material and metals. How is the RO water made? For plant water that is used in other processes? Well water, etc. You might want to try UV to destroy any organic material left in the water.

George Shahin
George Shahin
Atotech - Rock Hill, South Carolina


Q. I would like to know what's the quality of water used for nickel plating? no matter is electroless or electrolytic plating. Thank you.


Abbas Chua
Water Treatment - Singapore

December 2012

A. Hi Abbas.

Regular drinking water quality city water is widely used in nickel plating operations, both for makeup and rinsing. However, the rule of thumb in electroplating is that the purer the water, the better. It always helps, never hurts. Tramp ingredients like calcium or chloride in excess are always harmful whereas complete lack of them very rarely can do any harm (and if it did, they could be added back in controlled quantities).


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

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