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Nickel Plating

Nickel Plating is a yellowish white, hard reflective finish used for wear resistance, solderability, or dimensional restoration. Nickel plate is often applied over copper and under chromium for a decorative finish. For applications requiring bright nickel, there are other considerations. Nickel brighteners increase brightness, internal stress, and lower the ductility. It is best to avoid specifying bright nickel if the parts are to be bent or crimped after plating. For those instances, a Watt's nickel (nickel sulfate with little or no brighteners) is used. This semi bright nickel has a more satiny finish than bright nickel but is more ductile. If heat shock or minor bending of the parts is anticipated it would be better to specify semi bright nickel in order to reduce the risk of the plating flaking off.


Nickel may be specified by QQ-N-290- Nickel Plate, Class 1-"Decoratve," Types I to III are for steel parts and types V to VII for copper-base parts and ASTM B 456, "Copper/Nickel/Chromium" for a variety of service classes (SCs), which vary with alloy and base metal. The thickness of nickel plating for most commercial applications will be 0.0002 to 0.0004 in (5 to 10um), but since nickel plates readily, it may be plated to hundreds of an inch (500 to 600 um is easily possible) in some engineering applications.

Types of Nickel Plating

Bright Nickel, Electrolytic (Rohs Compliant)

Black Nickel (Ultra Conductive)

Blue on Electroless Nickel

Electroless Nickel (Rohs Compliant)

Watt's Nickel (Sulfamate)

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