ELECTROLESS NICKEL (EN)

Electroless Nickel describes plating of a Nickel/Phosphorus coating onto a suitable substrate by chemical reduction. Unlike electroplated coatings, electroless nickel is an auto catalytic process where the coating is deposited onto a part's surface by reducing nickel ions to metallic nickel with sodium hypo-phosphite. This chemical process avoids many of the problems associated with most metallic coatings and provides deposits with many unique characteristics.

As with all our coating and plating processes, we are capable of servicing a wide variety of part size ranges, up to 39 inches in diameter. This includes barrel plating as well as rack/wiring with or without masking.

Why use electroless nickel?

ELECTROLESS NICKEL (EN) PROPERTIES

Electroless Nickel coatings are uniform, hard, relatively brittle, lubrious, easily solderable, and highly corrosion resistant.

ELECTROLESS NICKEL (EN) PROCESSES

Medium Phosphorus: 6-9% (weight %) content

This is the most common electroless nickel process. Steel parts plated with medium phosphorous electroless nickel perform like stainless steel in many cases. Electroless nickel plates both internal and external surfaces, and will not build up on edges or ends, thereby providing excellent uniform coverage. With heat treatment, medium phosphorus electroless nickel can be hardened from 45 RCH to as high as 68 RCH.

Its characteristics include:

  • 45-48 RCH as plated;
  • 66-68 RCH post heat treatment;
  • Good corrosion protection and lubricity; and
  • Compliance with MIL-C-26074E, AMS 2404, AMS 2405 and ASTM B733 specification requirements.

High Phosphorus: 10-12% (weight %) content

This coating provides maximum corrosion resistance. High phosphorus electroless nickel is standard in industries that require resistance to strongly acidic corrosive environments. It has a low degree of solderability, which makes it a desirable finish for electronics such as connector housings and semiconductor packaging.

Its characteristics include:

  • Up to 44 RCH as plated;
  • 46-48 RCH post heat treatment (4 hours at 350F, 1 hour at 750F);
  • Excellent corrosion properties (over 1,000 hours salt spray test, passes nitric test);
  • Non-magnetic properties; and
  • Compliance with ASTM B 733 and AMS 2404 specification requirements.

Semi-Bright Medium Phosphorus: 7-9% (weight %) content

This coating has very similar properties to medium phosphorus electroless nickel. It is primarily used for electronic applications due to its excellent solderability properties, as well as an underlayer for silver and gold plating. Its characteristics include:

  • High hardness;
  • Excellent solderability;
  • Electrical resistivity;
  • Good corrosion protection; and
  • Compliance with MIL-C-24074C specification requirements.

Lead and Cadmium-Free Phosphorus: 5-8% (weight %) content

A lead and cadmium-free electroless nickel coating with the following characteristics:

  • A melting range of 96o-1200o Celsius;
  • 56 RCH as plated;
  • 69 RCH post heat treatment;
  • Magnetic properties; and
  • Compliance with End-of-Vehicle Life Act, ASTM B733 and AMS 2404 D specification requirements.