Nickel electroplating has a wide range of functional and aesthetic applications. Nickel electroplating can help guard against corrosion, improve wear resistance, and increase the thickness of a surface from a practical aspect. In addition, nickel adds brightness to an object, which enhances its appearance. Nickel electroplating is frequently used to create a gold or silver base layer.

Nickel electroplating is a standard electrodeposition method for preventing corrosion in steel, brass, and other base metals. Nickel is the most effective electroplated coating for retaining a decorative appearance for extended periods in corrosive situations, and it is typically coupled with chromium. As a non-decorative functional plate, nickel electrodeposition is also popular in technical applications.

The difference between bright nickel electroplated for ornamental purposes and non-decorative nickel deposits is significant. The brilliant deposit’s ductility and corrosion resistance are harmed by its high sulphur concentration (>0.05 per cent). With the addition of organic-sulfur brightening solutions, bright coatings are often deposited from the watts formulation (see below). The watts bath without brighteners (often referred to as watts non-bright) or sulfamate nickel chemistries commonly deposit functional deposits.

 

Resistance to Corrosion:

Nickel deposits have a complex corrosion resistance that has been the subject of much research. In general, when more impurities are added to the deposit, the nickel plate’s ability to resist corrosion deteriorates. Hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, sulphur, chloride, and metallic impurities are the most prevalent deposit contaminants. Watts neon-bright and sulfamate formulations are more corrosion resistant because they do not co-deposit sulphur and carbon from a brightening system.

In summary, a watts non-bright or sulfamate formulation is the deposit of choice for technical applications where ductility and corrosion resistance of the deposit take precedence over an aesthetic finish. Sulfamate nickel techniques are superior if low internal stress is also a priority for sections that will be deflected or bent extensively. However, keep in mind that these deposits are not as bright and, as a result, do not have as much aesthetic appeal. The old adage “bright is right” does not necessarily apply when it comes to engineered coatings!

 

Organic sulphur compounds degrade at cathode surfaces, creating very small particles of nickel sulphide that refine the grain size of the deposit at the cathode surface (plated section) by at least two orders of magnitude, causing a brightening in nickel deposits. Brightener additives to the plating bath have a negative impact on the deposit’s ductility, internal stress, electrical conductivity, and corrosion resistance.

Steel fatigue strength is reduced by nickel coatings that are stretched in tension. As the amount of co-deposited sulphur or other contaminants from the brightening system grows, nickel deposits lose corrosion resistance, ductility, and electrical conductivity. Modifying the preceding features is a complicated subject primarily determined by the bath chemistry and, to a lesser extent, by the bath chemistry’s operational parameters.

Finishes that are electrolytic

Electrolytic coatings can be used when a more attractive surface is desired. It creates an attractive appearance by concealing flaws on the surface. Electrolytic nickel deposits are appropriate for aircraft applications because they produce little or no stress.

Bright plating is frequently utilised when a mirror finish is sought. The Chemical, petroleum, and food and beverage sectors all employ them. They keep the purity of the product and protect it from contamination and corrosion. Because of their exceptional chrome receptivity and ductility, these finishes are also employed as intermediate processes. They’re also well-suited to high-quality plating on difficult metal substrates.

Sulfamate Nickel electroPlating: When a minimal amount of thickness is desired, sulfamate plating is perfect. The finish is satin or semi-bright.

Nickel is used in various corrosion and wear resistance standards, diffusion and migration barriers, solderability, ductility, and brightness in multiple industries.

APPLICATIONS OF NICKEL ELECTROPLATING

Nickel electroplating can be found in a wide range of industrial settings. Engineering nickel plating is commonly used in the consumer electronics, chemical, computer, and telecommunications industries to obtain a matte surface because the aesthetic appeal is less critical. Decorative nickel electroplating, which often incorporates chromium additions to increase brightness, is frequently used to improve the aesthetic of exterior auto elements like grills and bumpers.

Nickel electroforming, which involves depositing non-adhesive nickel onto a mandrel or mould, is widely utilised in the aerospace, textile, and telecom industries.