Differences Between Electroless & Electrolytic Nickel Plating

Electrolytic nickel plating has been the more traditional method for quite some time. This type of nickel plating needs a direct current (DC) charge and a catalyst to create the chemical chain reaction needed to coat some object with a layer that is thin of nickel. When you have electroless nickel plating, there is no need for a charge or catalyst.

These formulas that are electroless use phosphorous or some chemical reducing agent to allow coating of an object without any additional processing needed. Before you decide which process is right for your objects, you should continue reading to find out more about how these two processes differ from one another. This can ensure you are using the best process for your object and application.

In both of these methods, the object is coated with a thin layer of nickel. The electroless nickel plating process gives the object resistance against corrosion and wear, as well as lubrication, and some additional performance abilities that do not come with the electrolytic coating process. Electroless nickel plating is ideal when you have a project with the thinnest allowable tolerances. It is much easier to apply uniformly.

When one uses electrolytic nickel plating, the coating around the corners of the object tends to be thicker. This process is not the same process as the electroless process is. there are some advantages to the electrolytic process, which include the purity of the metal. This process can be performed with 100 percent nickel, but electroless plating needs phosphorus.

The electrolytic process can use other metals, such as copper. This process tends to be more cost-effective and it is easier to create a higher volume in less time, which ultimately means one has higher productivity. Since there is a higher percentage of nickel in this process, the object has better conductivity than one that is plated with the electroless process. These objects have a higher heat resistance as they can handle temperatures as high as 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit.

Not to be outdone, the electroless process has many advantages also. The thickness of the plating is more precise which avoids some common problems associated with nickel plating. Due to the addition of phosphorus, the process provides more resistance to corrosion than the electrolytic process does. Due to the phosphorous, the finisher can control how much electromagnetic interference occurs with the object. This is critical for electronic applications.

These objects have additional durability and hardness. They can be treated with enough heat to reach close to the same hardness as chromium. The electroless plating process causes less friction when the object rubs against other material. This increases the lubrication and reduces scarring. The electroless plating process can be used for all metal objects.

There is no limit to how thick it can be applied. Objects treated with the electroless process can be salvaged at a later time if need be. The materials can be used again. These objects are less like to crack or break under pressure. The electroless process is more ductile than the electrolytic process.

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