Nickel plating is the application of a coating of nickel to the base material for durability or decoration. Nickel plating protects industrial items from wear and corrosion by acting as a shield. Without plating, machinery is more prone to damage, reducing its lifespan and increasing repair costs. The ultimate results vary depending on the nickel plating technique used. Electroless nickel and electrolytic nickel are two plating alternatives.

The employment of an electric current is the main distinction between these two approaches. Instead of employing an electric current, electroless nickel plating relies on natural chemical processes. This lowers utility costs and allows for more coating thickness and final brightness flexibility. Electroless nickel plating can be seen on cooking utensils, bathroom fixtures, equipment, and tools for these reasons. It’s a popular coating choice due to its low cost and flexibility.

What is Electrolytic nickel plating?

Unlike electroless nickel plating, which coats materials using a chemical bath, electrolytic nickel plating uses an electric current. Two electrodes are dipped in a solution and linked to an electric circuit to create plating. Metal atoms are deposited when electricity passes across the circuit, resulting in a thin covering. Cheaper materials, such as plastic can benefit from electrolytic nickel plating.

It can also improve longevity and resistance to corrosion, although due to differences in coating thickness, it is less effective than electroless nickel plating. The coating will be thicker or thinner at corners, edges, caverns, and dips in the base material. Because of the absence of consistency, the finished product is less resistant to contact and corrosion and cracking and wear over time.

electroless nickel plating

electroless nickel plating

Advantages of electrolytic nickel plating

  • Deposit of pure nickel
  • Ductility meets or exceeds AMS 2424 and can withstand 1,000°C (1,832°F) after plate fire.
  • Microhardness is usually less than 300 HV.

Disadvantages of electrolytic nickel plating

Electrolytic nickel plating is expensive and time-consuming and results in a less uniform coating since it requires an external electric current. In addition, electrolytic nickel plating has many drawbacks due to its nature, including the fact that it only works on conductive materials.

  • Due to a lack of homogeneity, it has lower corrosion resistance.
  • Due to a lack of homogeneity, it has a lower friction resistance.
  • Is susceptible to cracking and damage.
  • It’s possible that it won’t be as visually attractive.
  • Is both expensive and time-consuming.
  • When disposing of the solution, raises environmental problems.

Applications of electrolytic nickel plating

Electrolytic nickel plating does have its uses, despite its drawbacks. It can, for example, be used for:

  • Purely ornamental consumer products, such as tree ornaments.
  • Home lighting fittings.
  • Several kitchen appliances
  • Base metals of inferior grade are used in jewellery.
  • Aerospace or industrial materials with low stress.

What is electroless nickel plating?

Electroless nickel plating is the simplest method since it does not require an electric charge or a catalyst. Instead, it is caused by a spontaneous chemical reaction that happens uniformly throughout all exposed regions of the base material. This enables greater coating thickness accuracy and customisation. A primary chemical chain reaction is used in the electroless nickel plating method.

To achieve a flawless coating, the core material or substrate is first cleansed. After that, it’s submerged in a water-based solution. The solution comprises nickel salt as well as a phosphorous-containing reducing agent. A reducing agent is a substance or element that throws electrons away. As a result, the nickel adheres to the surface of the substrate. Because the reaction occurs spontaneously by chemical methods, this technique does not require an electrical current. As a result, the coating is more uniform than it would be if electrolytic plating were used.

Advantages of electroless nickel plating

Different plating techniques have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Electroless nickel plating has many benefits, including the following:

  • On uneven shapes, it ensures an even covering.
  • It may be applied to both conductive and non-conductive base materials.
  • Can reach complicated parts’ hidden surfaces.
  • It has high corrosion resistance due to the homogeneity of the coating.
  • It is less expensive since it does not require power.
  • It’s available in a range of finishes, from matte to brilliant.
  • Money is saved since less nickel is wasted.

For irregularly shaped products, such as complicated industrial equipment, electroless nickel plating is excellent. The chemical bath must be refilled often as the electrons are transported, which is one drawback. In addition, the plating process must be constantly monitored to ensure its efficiency. Despite these disadvantages, it is becoming a more common plating option due to its uniformity and dependability.

Applications of electroless nickel plating

Electroless nickel plating may be found all over the place. This technique covers everything from ordinary home things to intricate industrial gear and parts since it applies a consistent coating to even the most complex forms. Electroless nickel plating can be found on:

  • Doorknobs.
  • Utensils for the kitchen.
  • Mechanical tools.
  • Hard disc drives are storage devices.
  • A coating of gold is applied on circuit boards.
  • Instruments used in medicine.
  • Any piece of equipment that is utilised in a caustic or dangerous environment.

Electroless nickel plating offers a wide range of uses due to the long-lasting, corrosion-resistant, and smooth finish it produces. It’s also chemically resistant and reduces friction, making it excellent for use in aviation and aerospace components. It’s also an aesthetically attractive option, with a matte to glossy surface that may be customised. As a result, it’s a popular choice for conspicuous household appliances.

Smart Microns- best electroless nickel plating services in Chennai

Agriculture, transportation, medicine, electricity, mining, and printing are among the industries that Smart Microns Specialists serves. Tell us about your materials and uses, and we’ll come up with a custom nickel plating solution for you.


To survive operating conditions, industrial equipment must be plated. Otherwise, it will be exposed to the elements, which will cause corrosion, ripping, rusting, and damage. When nickel plating is applied, the cost of maintaining and updating equipment is significantly decreased. Electroless nickel plating is the preferred coating option for practical uses other than aesthetics.