What is Electroless Nickel Plating, and how is it used

Electroless Nickel Plating, like that offered by companies like www.poeton.co.uk/standard-treatments/electroless-nickel-plating is a way in which the surface of an item can be strengthened to help prevent it from being affected by environmental issues such as oxidisation, corrosion and erosion. There are three main methods to surface treatments. These are painting, plating and heat treatments.

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Painting is the simplest in that a layer of paint is added to the surface of the item. This may need to be renewed in the future and may not provide the same long-term benefits as plating and heat treatments. Plating is where a layer of metal is added to the product. This doesn’t have to be the same metal that the item is made out of. Electroless plating falls into this category. Finally, heat treatments result in the outer layer of the item hardening under exposure to high temperatures. This then gives the item a harder, stronger and more resistant outer layer.

As well as nickel, a number of other metals can be used in plating. These include chrome, copper, gold, silver and zinc. All these metals can be used in a similar way to provide an extra layer of protection for a variety of items.

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During the plating process, there are a number of stages that need to be completed. These are:

Set up – this includes pre-work such as polishing the product to ensure that there are no jagged edges, as well as setting up the plating equipment.

Pre-treatment – this is where chemicals are often used to help clean the material and remove any oil and debris that may be present. If left, these can affect the quality and effectiveness of the plating.

Plating – this is where the material is placed in a plating bath. Electrodes are placed into the plating solution that then passes a current through the solution. Metal is then formed on the item, and a film is created. In some cases, this process may be repeated to give you several layers of plating.

Post-treatment – this is where the solution is neutralised, and the plating is stabilised. In some cases, the product may have some discolouration that occurred during the plating process removed.

Post-processing – the product undergoes a baking process that helps to fix the plating in place.

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