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Electroless nickel plating

Electroless nickel plating is particularly suitable for parts with complicated shapes, with tight tolerances and when you want to avoid post-processing. The layer thickness is the same regardless of the appearance of the detail, even sharp edges and narrow gaps as well as interior surfaces get the same layer thickness as other surfaces, providing wear and corrosion protection on all coated surfaces. Electroless nickel is cathodic compared to steel and aluminium, for example, which means that electroless nickel is more noble. This means that the nickel layer provides a barrier protection. For the base material to have adequate corrosion protection, the layer must be dense. It is thus the density of the layer that is the main factor in achieving good corrosion protection.
Electroless nickel plating is a surface treatment method that involves chemically precipitating a layer of nickel onto a surface that is usually metallic. But it can also be used on non-metallic surfaces, although a special pre-treatment is required. Electroless nickel plating can be carried out with three different phosphorus levels that affect hardness and corrosion. In general, increased phosphorus content provides better corrosion protection. Thicker layers up to 30-35 my provide better corrosion protection. If higher corrosion resistance is desired, Electroless nickel plating can be combined with, for example, Nilit.

The method produces extremely even layers and provides good wear and corrosion protection. The process also provides good protection against the effects of several substances, such as caustic soda, mineral oil, varnish and molten PVC. Chemical resistance is good against alkali and various metal salts such as chlorides.

Electroless nickel plating is offered with three different phosphorus contents that are important for corrosion protection and hardness. Higher phosphorus content gives lower hardness but better corrosion protection. Thanks to its phosphorus content, the electroless nickel has good friction properties. In general, however, friction is slightly higher for electroless nickel than for hard chromium plating. The hardness of an electroless nickel layer depends on the composition of the electroless nickel bath, the number of metallic reactions, the temperature of the heat treatment and the time. You can thus influence the process to achieve the specific result you are looking for.

For example, the hardness can be increased from 450-500 Vickers (45-50 Rockwell C) at precipitation to 1000 Vickers (70 Rockwell C) by heat treatment to 400°C if this is done within 24 hours after the coating process. The hardness of electroless nickel-plated surfaces can be adversely affected by prolonged use in temperatures above 600 ˚C. Electroless nickel plating can thus be a good alternative to hard chromium. The coating normally has about one tenth of a percent elongation. When heated to 400˚C, it decreases to zero. Electrical resistance; Generally about 60 micro ohms/cm which can be reduced by heat treatment to 600˚C. Magnetism; Magnetism decreases with phosphorus content. Coatings with more than 8% phosphorus are non-magnetic. Melting point Approximately 890 ˚C. Coefficient of thermal expansion Approximately 13×10-6 cm/cm ˚C. Density Specific gravity 7.85 g/cm3, which increases with decreasing phosphorus content.

The method produces extremely even layers and provides good wear and corrosion protection. The process also provides good protection against the effects of several substances, such as caustic soda, mineral oil, varnish and molten PVC. Chemical resistance is good against alkali and various metal salts such as chlorides. Electroless nickel plating is offered with three different phosphorus contents that are important for corrosion protection and hardness. Higher phosphorus content gives lower hardness but better corrosion protection. Thanks to its phosphorus content, the electroless nickel has good friction properties. In general, however, friction is slightly higher for electroless nickel than for hard chromium plating. The hardness of an electroless nickel layer depends on the composition of the electroless nickel bath, the number of metallic reactions, the temperature of the heat treatment and the time. You can thus influence the process to achieve the specific result you are looking for. For example, the hardness can be increased from 450-500 Vickers (45-50 Rockwell C) at precipitation to 1000 Vickers (70 Rockwell C) by heat treatment to 400°C if this is done within 24 hours after the coating process. The hardness of electroless nickel-plated surfaces can be adversely affected by prolonged use in temperatures above 600 ˚C. Electroless nickel plating can thus be a good alternative to hard chromium. The coating normally has about one tenth of a percent elongation. When heated to 400˚C, it decreases to zero. Electrical resistance; Generally about 60 micro ohms/cm which can be reduced by heat treatment to 600˚C. Magnetism; Magnetism decreases with phosphorus content. Coatings with more than 8% phosphorus are non-magnetic. Melting point Approximately 890 ˚C. Coefficient of thermal expansion Approximately 13×10-6 cm/cm ˚C. Density Specific gravity 7.85 g/cm3, which increases with decreasing phosphorus content.

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