About Electroless Nickel
Electroless nickel plating is a process used to deposit a nickel-phosphorus alloy onto a substrate without the use of electric current, rectifiers or anodes. A chemical reaction takes place on the surface of the part to produce the electroless nickel coating. The deposit thickness is uniform since all surfaces in contact with the electroless nickel solution are plated. This unique property of electroless nickel allows for the plating of parts with complex geometries as well as the internal surfaces of pipes and other parts. Very thick coatings can be produced since the electroless nickel reaction is autocatalytic; once an initial layer of electroless nickel is deposited, that layer and each subsequent layer becomes the catalyst that causes the deposition reaction to continue.
Electroless nickel coatings are functional coatings that offer a wide variety of properties that vary depending on the phosphorus content of the alloy. The phosphorus content can range from 1-13% depending on the product formulation used. Electroless nickel coatings can be divided into three types based on their phosphorus content: Low phos coatings contain 1-4% phosphorus, mid phos coatings contain 5-9% phosphorus and high phos coatings contain 10-13% phosphorus. Deciding which electroless nickel type to use will be based on the functional properties desired. These properties include corrosion resistance, wear resistance, hardness, lubricity, solderability and magnetism.
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