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topic 9762

Minimum Amount of Copper to Plate Nickel


What is the minimum amount of copper required to be able to plate nickel? Note base metal is 19 gage steel.

Abel A [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Dallas, Texas, USA

First of two simultaneous responses -- (2001)

Zero, Abel. Nickel can be plated directly onto steel and often is. Please post some real-world details, as vague and abstract questions are only poorly answerable :-)


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

Second of two simultaneous responses -- (2001)

Nickel can be plated directly over steel with no copper. Copper is used in this application for added corrosion protection and/or appearance enhancement so the minimum thickness would depend on the condition of the steel and the end product you need.

Neil Bell
Red Sky Plating

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Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Another reason for copper plating on steel before aluminum plating is for RMF interference protection in telecommunications equipment. Usually the buyer specifies the thickness based on that buyer's requirements. It would seem to me that any question posted here in good faith deserves more than that which was offered by one of the respondents. What is the minimum thickness required if copper plating is specified before nickel plating? Any advice from New Jersey?

Alan Cooper
- Dallas, Texas



I confess to occasionally answering with attempted humor, but I answered this question in good faith and don't know what you are alluding to! In past years many steel items were copper plated before nickel plating -- for example truck bumpers. The industry now plates the steel directly with nickel in most cases these days -- zero copper. That's what I was saying: that we've found that, simply, there is no minimum thickness. When someone asks me what is the minimum copper thickness requirement on steel to be able to nickel plate, I thought it was valid to tell him that we've now found the answer to be zero.

Yes, it's possible that they want to copper plate for RMF interference protection or other reasons, but that did not occur to me. It is difficult to correctly guess at a situation when an abstract question is asked, which is the other point I made.

But I would now suggest that we usually plate for a particular reason and there often is a spec that covers plating for that purpose, and those individual specs may well include a minimum copper thickness. In particular circumstances my answer of zero could be unacceptable to the spec.

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


Having been thoroughly and completely chastized I will return to my cave. Sorry I ever bothered you folks.

Alan Cooper
- Dallas, Texas


We have enjoyed your participation and thoughtful responses on these pages, not just recently but over the years, Alan -- so we hope you continue to participate.

People should feel free to offer their own opinion here and to challenge other people's opinions; but questioning the qualifications or the style of other respondent's answers can lead to little tiffs like this in a medium where the customary communication cues are absent.

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


Dear Mr. Alan, Dear Mr. Mooney, Dear 10K visitors of this week,

Guys ! Guys ! Its nice to be kids sometimes and a little shin kicking is supposedly good for us to learn a few of life's difficult lessons. I too have a big mouth and am guilty as h#@l of being pompous and outspoken , especially on this site !

At the end of it all it's nice to have e-friends with whom we can take liberties once in a while, and still be buddies.

For Mr Abel the answer is min 5 to 10 microns with a live entry in the Nickel tank. The RF discussion is not applicable to your case but I see that you may have your compulsions for wanting to plate Copper. If the LCD (recessed) areas on your sheet part are higher in ratio to the HCD areas them 10 to 15 microns is your minimum.

cheers to you all!

Khozem Vahaanwala
Khozem Vahaanwala
Saify Ind supporting advertiser
Bangalore, Karnataka, India

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