Watts Bright Nickel Plating
AMS-QQ-N-290 Nickel Plating (Electrodeposited)
The Watts Nickel plating process, which Seminole Metal Finishing uses, is the most common nickel plating solution used in the industry. Bright nickel plating, as it is commonly referred to, is the process of an electrolytic deposition of a layer of nickel on a substrate. This is done through electrolyzing the anode (metallic nickel) and the cathode (the part) with DC current. Direct current is applied between the Anode (positive) and cathode (negative) by way of a rectifier. The rectifier transforms AC current into DC current. The plater controls the rectifier and amperage based on the size of the parts in the tank and the number of parts in the tank. Nickel salts provide the conductivity between the electrodes. The nickel salts provide the nickel metal being deposited to the parts, while the nickel anode replenishes the nickel ion to the solution. This enables the nickel plating solution to be used for long periods without having to make large chemical adds.
The military specification associated with bright nickel plating is SAE AMS-QQ-N-290. The specification covers plating thickness with service condition numbers, product requirements, testing and sampling procedures. There are five service conditions for bright nickel, from SC 1 (mild corrosive) to SC 5 (severe conditions). When ordering articles to be plated conforming to this or any other standard, the purchaser shall state the exact specification standard and the service condition required. The appearance required and significant surfaces on the parts are also critical information.
There are many types of nickel plating baths used for many purposes. There are baths for decorative, electro-forming and engineering applications. Each bath has a different chemical makeup in order for it to achieve the end product. The first thing that needs to be determined is the application in which the product is going to be used. Nickel plating is generally more corrosion resistant in alkaline and neutral environments, but not to most of the mineral acids. Nickel plating can be used in the chemical, petroleum, and the food and beverage industries to maintain purity, prevent contamination and corrosion.