There are many advantages to using electroless nickel plating as an alternative to hard chrome.
Hard chrome is a common choice where the hardness and wear resistance of a component are important. The hardness of hard chrome is in the region of 800 – 1100 VHN.
The hard chrome deposit, however, is applied electrolytically. Metal coatings applied electrolytically generally create an uneven coating which may need post plating machining. The difference in coating uniformity between electrolytic and and electroless nickel plating is illustrated in the image below, and the same theory can be applied to hard chrome applied eloctrolytically and electroless nickel plating. Another disadvantage to hard chrome is that it tends to soften with heating.
Electroless nickel deposits form a perfectly uniform coating, unlike hard chrome. Although electroless nickel does not give the same level of hardness, the process of heat treatment can be used to harden it. Some electroless nickel deposits can be harder than 1000 VHN, making the hardness of electroless nickel plating comparable to that of hard chrome.
As well a electroless nickel plating, NiTEC also specialise in diffused nickel plating finishes, copper plating as a process, shotblasting and heat treatment.
To find out more about electroless nickel plating visit the NiTEC website.
As a specialist electroless nickel plating company in Chesterfield, Nitec are experts in the plating industry. A question that is frequently asked by customers and potential customers alike is ‘Exactly how hard is electroless nickel plating?
Depending on the phosphorus content in the deposit, electroless nickel deposits have hardness values in the range of 450 – 750 VHN. As a rule, the higher the phosphorus content, the lower the deposited hardness of the electroless nickel.Mild steel with an electroless nickel coating has properties of hardness and corrosion resistance exceeding the benefits offered by stainless steel.
Increasing hardness of electroless nickel using heat treatment
An effective way of increasing the hardness of the electroless nickel coating is by using the process of heat treatment. Heat treatment can increase the hardness of electroless nickel coatings to in excess of 1000 VHN. This makes the nickel deposit hardness on par with hard chrome, with the added advantage of an even coating which will not require any machinery after plating.
For more information about how we can fulfill your nickel plating requirements, or for advice on using electroless nickel plating an as alternative to stainless steel, please visit the Nitec website, or call our friendly team of staff on 0845 224 357.