What Is Nickel Plating 

The electrolytically depositing of a nickel layer onto a substrate is known as nickel plating. These nickel deposits are used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Resistance to wear
  • Resistance to corrosion
  • Hardness
  • Lubricity
  • Uses for magnets

Nickel that is utilised in engineering is usually smooth and grey in appearance. Nickel, both bright and matte, has a high level of corrosion resistance. Nickel is also a base for other metals such as gold and silver because it works as a diffusion barrier, preventing substrate migration to the top coating.

The surface look and brightness of parts produced with a bright nickel plating layer are maintained throughout time.

In non-decorative applications, engineering nickel is employed. Bright nickel is utilised in the automobile industry and household items and hand tools.

The technique of putting nickel on a metal object is known as nickel plating. It could be referring to:

  • Electroplating with nickel
  • Nickel plating without the use of electricity
  • Electroplating a thin nickel layer onto a metal object is known as nickel electroplating.

An auto-catalytic reaction is utilised to deposit a nickel coating on a substrate in electroless nickel plating. It is not essential to conduct an electric current through the solution to form a deposit, unlike electroplating. Therefore, electroless nickel plating offers several advantages over electroplating: it is free of flux density and power supply concerns, produces an even deposit independent of workpiece shape and may deposit on non-conductive surfaces with the suitable pre-plate catalyst.

A form of nickel plating is used in the manufacturing process of many products on the market. Nickel plating is the process of coating a metal object with a thin layer of nickel for various reasons, including ornamental purposes or wear and corrosion resistance. The three most common nickel plating kinds are:

plating in bright nickel

Nickel plating without the use of electricity

Dull nickel coating

Each coating has its benefits and drawbacks, and each is more suited to certain products than others. Find out which nickel plating type is ideal for your application in the table below:

Properties of Bright Nickel Plating:

An item must be exposed to an electric current to receive brilliant nickel plating. Because of its high sulphur concentration, bright nickel plating creates a dazzling mirror-like gloss. It has strong conductivity but isn’t as ductile or corrosion resistant as other nickel plating varieties. It does, however, produce excellent levelling characteristics, which help to mask polishing lines and other surface flaws.

It can create a clean and brilliant finish on steel, aluminium, copper, brass, and iron. It can also be used as a basis for other electroplating coatings to brighten them up.

Bumpers, rims, exhaust pipes, and trims for vehicles, motorbikes, and bikes, as well as lighting and plumbing fixtures. It’s also great for mending any worn equipment mechanisms.

Properties of Electroless Nickel Plating:

Electroless nickel plating, unlike other types of nickel plating, uses an autocatalytic process and does not require an electric current. It may deposit on non-conductive surfaces and provide an even coating regardless of the object’s geometry. It’s perfect for avoiding corrosion and wear, as well as anything else that demands a high level of hardness.

Plastic and various metals are affected because the layer contains 4 to 7% phosphorus.

Kitchen instruments, doorknobs, bathroom faucets, office equipment, driveshafts, rotors, and oilfield valves are good candidates. In addition, electroless nickel plating is commonly used as a coating in electronics printed circuit boards, with a layer of gold added to prevent corrosion further.

Properties of Dull Nickel Plating (Nickel Sulphamate):

The procedure is comparable to bright nickel plating, but the result has a dull, matte appearance. Dull nickel plating is durable, pliable, and has high corrosion resistance. In addition, the coating can build thickness and is effective for abrasion resistance and dimensional adjustments.

Applies to: Chromium, tin plating, silver plating, and gold plating undercoats.

Machine parts, springs, and other items requiring movement are all good candidates. Dull plating is also appropriate for joining tasks involving brazing, soldering, or laser welding and is known to be the preferred coating for pre-1933 automobile restoration.