Metal Technology

Best Way to Apply Nickel Coatings to Metal

Coating metals boost their resistance to different forms of damage — from corrosion and abrasion to chemical damage. If you invest in wear resistant steel coatings for your metal parts, you also improve the metals’ strength and durability while giving them a polished look. 

One of the most popular coating materials is nickel. It’s primarily known for its durability, lubricity, strong corrosion resistance and wear resistance properties. There are two main ways nickel can be deposited onto a metal’s surface: electrolytic and electroless nickel plating. Not every metal finishing company provides both types of nickel deposition services. Let’s understand what these different methods are about.

Electrolytic Vs. Electroless Plating

Electrolytic plating is categorized into two sets: Type I or Type II. Both utilize a sulfamate nickel solution, but nickel plating using an electrolytic process has organic brighteners to achieve a hard chrome plating look (and the latter produces a coating that looks dull). The electroless plating technique uses chemical baths containing phosphorus for a uniform final coating. Depending on the ratio of phosphorus, the final hardness and anti-corrosive properties can be different. 

Traditional Nickel Plating process relies on electric current.

If you’re considering getting a nickel plating service near Dallas for industrial applications, many would recommend the electroless nickel plating method. It’s a process that deposits an alloy of nickel and phosphorus onto a substrate via submersion in an autocatalytic bath. To increase durability, some electroless nickel plating shops add silicon carbide particles to the bath matrix.

Electroless nickel plating can be used to coat various materials — including carbon steel, mild steel, hardened steel, brass, copper, aluminum, and titanium, among metal substrates. To ensure the quality of the final coated material, the technician should properly control pH, nickel, and hypophosphate content of the plating bath. 

The Advantages Of Electroless Nickel Plating

Experts in wear resistant steel coatings consider electroless nickel plating more capable of producing an output with better corrosion and wear assistance than hard chrome plating and traditional nickel plating. And unlike the conventional electroplating method, this eliminates product deformation and warping because no heat (produced by electric current) is present. 

The other benefits are:

Excellent adhesion. Through an autocatalytic process, the nickel-phosphorous alloy can form a strong bond with the surface of the metal being coated. This superior adhesion can help ensure you enjoy the benefits of these corrosion protection coatings for a long time. 

Uniformity. Strength and durability are incontestably important, but you also have to consider how uniform the coating distribution will be. The electroless nickel plating method should be your choice if you want to achieve a polished and not rugged surface. You’ll also have better control over density and thickness. 

Versatility. With electroless plating, you can deposit nickel onto various kinds of surfaces — whether their shape is simple or complicated. If your substrate has grooves or recessed areas, this technique lets you uniformly coat them. 

Better lubricity. As stated, nickel has great lubricity. This means that friction and wear can be minimized if the coated metal comes into contact with other surfaces. 

Increased hardness. We recommend an electroless nickel plating service near Dallas that adds silicon carbide particles or a composite diamond coating to the matrix. And when hardness is improved, you can further enhance the metal’s resistance to abrasion, friction, and general wear. 

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