Gleco offers QQ-N-290, ASTM B689, and AMS 2403 nickel plating to companies needing durable, corrosion, and wear-resistant plating. This silvery-white metal is employed through two primary nickel plating finishes. Bright nickel finishes (available in satin, pearl, and black) are preferred for automotive components, appliances, fixtures, and consumer electronics. Dull matte engineering nickel finishes are preferred for non-decorative parts and products.
A fairly reactive element, Nickel is ferromagnetic at room temperature, with an extremely high melting point of 1455C (2651F). This makes it an excellent nickel coating for high-temperature applications.
However, nickel deposits are slow to react in standard atmospheric environments due to forming a protective oxide surface, providing excellent corrosion performance on most products.
Types of Nickel Plating
There are several nickel plating processes. The traditional nickel plating process involves electrolytically depositing a layer of nickel on a metal surface. The electroless nickel plating process doesn’t require an electric current, but instead, uses an auto-catalytic reaction to deposit a layer of nickel on a metal surface.
Both traditional and electroless nickel plating results in a smooth finish, but electroless nickel coatings are exceptionally uniform, making them preferred for parts with complex geometries.
Nickel is also used for Electroforming, an additive manufacturing process that deposits nickel onto a pre-formed mold (known as a mandrel) and is then removed to reveal a pure nickel part.
Benefits of Nickel Plating
Nickel plating offers several particular advantages over other traditional plating methods:
- Corrosion and wear resistance
- Strength and hardness
- Magnetic qualities
- Serves as a diffusion barrier layer
Because Nickel Plating provides outstanding adhesion properties for subsequent coating layers, it is often used as an ‘undercoat’ for other coatings, such as chromium.
Materials that can be Nickel Plated
Nickel can be used to coat several types of metals and materials:
- Copper alloys
- Mild steels
- Hardened steel
- Stainless steel
However, it’s important to note that some of these materials may require special treatment before they can be nickel plated.
Nickel Plating is most commonly applied to aluminum and copper. It is often used by the automotive, electronics, and aerospace industries to plate:
- Rechargeable batteries
- Automotive fuel systems
- Transmission parts
- Braking systems