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Plating Nickel With an Electroless Kit

April 15, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 223

There are a few different ways to plate nickel onto a conductive material and one of the best ways to do this and complete a uniform layer regardless of angles or geometric structure of the material to be plated is electroless plating.

So then what exactly is electroless nickel plating?

The first thing to know about EN, or electroless nickel, is that it is exactly what it says and that is that plating can be done sans electricity. Before explaining how plating is done without electricity it may be helpful to know how it works with electricity. The typical and traditional plating technique involves connecting an anode and cathode, or a piece or part connected to a positive charge while the other is connected to a negative charge. These charges come by way of a battery or AC power unit that is plugged into a 120 volt outlet. This way the circuit is closed and the items located in a soluble metal salts tank will "interact." In this scenario the primary metal will be reduced onto the item that is to be plated. Ions from the positive anode will move onto the cathode through the solution and cover the new piece with the intended metal finish.

Autocatalytic plating with nickel is another name for electroless nickel plating. This type of plating means that no current is needed, no rectifiers are used and again, no circuit wires that attach to the anode and cathode are part of the process. The depositing of metals like nickel, gold, or silver are done in a solution that has ions of metal, a reduction agent, buffering ingredients and then also a stabilizing additive. These few different mixture materials, and in this case it would be a nickel bath, will cause a reaction and as all the chemicals mix together there is a deposit of nickel onto the outer layer. And because all the surfaces will be in contact within, and submerged in, the solution of nickel the covering will be uniform and the same as far as thickness goes. A deposit of such uniformity is very difficult to achieve when using electrical plating techniques.

Remember that EN, or electroless nickel plating kits, require that parts be submerged in a bath of solution that is brought to a high enough temperature in order to make the interaction take place. This will require independent heating elements or a shop stove in order to heat the material inside the metal salts solution. Always be safe whenever using a nickel plating kit and read all instructions before mixing any material.

Electroless plating with nickel offers uniform plating coverage with great durability and anti-corrosion resistance. Finding the right nickel kit for plating is an important step toward completing any nickel plating project.

Source: EzineArticles
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