Electroless Nickel Plating

Electroless nickel plating is an auto-catalytic plating process that yields significant advantages over traditional electrolytic nickel. The lack of current density issues provide a deposit that is extremely uniform in coverage and thickness. This inherent characteristic makes this process ideal for plating components that are complex in shape and require tight “after plating” tolerances. EN deposits provide excellent corrosion resistance, hardness and wear resistance. Electroless nickel can be applied to all common base materials and provides superior protection for light metals (i.e. aluminum alloys).

Specification Numbers for Electroless Nickel Plating

  • AMS-C-26074
  • AMS 2404, HP4-10 (Boeing)
  • M695215 (Honeywell)
  • ASTM-B-733
  • GPS3108-1 (Honeywell)

Find Out How CTI Can Help You With Electroless Nickel Plating

Why Choose NP3?

  • Increases Reliability
  • Requires little to no oil for lubrication
  • Very accurate and even coatings on all activated surfaces
  • Easy to clean
  • NP3 has a micro hardness of 48-51 Rockwell as plated (nickel matrix).
  • NP3 is very corrosion resistant, a 1 mil (.001) coating exceeding a 250 hour salt spray test.
  • NP3 has a high lubricity and low friction co-efficient; the life expectancy of parts will be greatly increased due to reduced friction wear.
  • NP3 is guaranteed against corrosion, peeling and flaking.

 A BRIEF HISTORY

The Electroless Nickel / PTFE process was developed in Holland and later refined and commercialized in England. Coating Technologies, Inc. became a licensed facility in the United States for this process in 1987. In 1988 CTI hired one of the developers of this process ( Dr. Paul Ebdon PHD ) to help train and develop the market for this new technology.

This relationship has made CTI the undisputed leader in the Electroless Nickel/PTFE composite market today.

A UNIQUE CONCEPT IN COATING TECHNOLOGY

NP3 is a surface treatment for various metals and alloys that combines sub-micron particles of PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) with autocatalytically applied nickel/phosphorus. The result is an accurately applied, dry lubricated, low friction surface that is extremely hard and resistant to wear.

The PTFE is evenly distributed throughout and locked into the nickel phosphorus matrix creating a true and stable composite. As wear occurs fresh particles of PTFE are exposed to keep the surface lubricated. This lubrication is available as long as the integrity of the coating is intact.

With NP3, the innovative engineer can specify surface characteristics that were previously thought unattainable.

COST SAVING

The uniform thickness and dimensional accuracy of NP3 negates the need for post-plate grinding operations. Thinner, accurate coatings mean reduced cost in materials and handling. Coatings can be applied to very exact tolerances easing the design and processing problems for engineers and designers.

Processing of the NP3 can be done expeditiously on most parts thus allowing for quicker assembly or replacement of time sensitive components.

Components plated in NP3 that have shown wear can be chemically stripped and replated with a fresh coating of NP3, thereby saving on component replacement costs. Importantly, NP3 is competitively priced.

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THE NP3 / ELECTROLESS NICKEL PROCESS

The NP3 process is an evolution of autocatalytic (Electroless) nickel plating. Electroless Nickel is a time proven technology that accurately deposits hard, corrosion resistant nickel phosphorus onto metal. One of the greatest attributes of this technology is no matter how complex the shape, the coating thickness remains consistent. This type of accuracy is not possible with conventional electrolytic plating.

np3-layersPlating is accomplished by using reducing agents in the bath. Sodium hypophosphate fuels the reduction reaction to deposit the nickel along with the codeposition of small amounts of phosphorus. The phosphorus enhances the nickel’s corrosion resistance by forming a thin tarnish film and gives a deposited hardness ranging from Rc 35-50. Heat treatment can increase hardnesses into the Rc 68-70 range.

With NP3, PTFE is introduced into the solution with a blend of surfactants and other chemicals which enable the PTFE to be codeposited with the nickel. This composition incorporates approximately 25 volume percent of PTFE into the nickel matrix. Unlike other nickel /PTFE products, NP3 is a true composite.

NP3 (ELECTROLESS NICKEL/PTFE) AEROSPACE SPECIFICATIONS

The plating of components with electroless or autocatalytic nickel is one of the most rapidly developing metal finishing processes. The advantages of coating uniformity, corrosion resistance and hardness are providing designers with opportunities to protect and improve base materials in ways that were not previously possible.

GPS3117-1 (Honeywell), HP4-90 (Boeing), M7019883 (Honeywell), EMS52545 (Allied Engines)

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, the autocatalytic nickel coating confers a degree of lubricity on the component, enhancing the coating’s suitability for pumps, compressors, pistons, brake cylinders and hydraulic components. The precise uniformity of the deposit enables the coating to be utilized as a true finishing process, with no post plate grinding or polishing required after plating.

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