Electroless nickel plating is an extremely hard, corrosion resistant coating. It produces a uniform finish on complex geometries and has been in popular use for more than 70 years. It is sometimes referred to as nickel phosphorus (or electroless nickel-phosphorus).
First developed in the 1940s, electroless nickel (EN) plating is used heavily by automotive and aviation for corrosion and wear resistance. It is a coating with multi-functional properties: hardness, heat hardenability, solderability, electrical conductivity, and abrasion, wear and corrosion resistance.
Electroless nickel plating is used in various engineered coating applications: automotive differential pins, brake pistons, slip yokes, oil & gas ball valves, aluminum fuel filters, memory disks, printing rolls, and washers.
Electroless Nickel Provides Endless Coating Solutions:
- Corrosion resistance
- High phosphorus (over 1,000 hours salt spray resistance)
- Wear resistance (Rockwell hardness up to 69C)
- Low coefficient of thermal expansion
- Low thermal conductivity
- High melting temperature
- Total coating uniformity (consistent tolerances within ± 1 to 2 microns)
- Exceeds the following performance requirements: AMS 2404, ASTM B-733, AMS 26074 (formerly MIL-C-26074), ISO 4527, GMW 3059, Ford WSS-M99P9999-A1, WSD-M1P65B1 & WSD-M1P65B B2, and Chrysler CS 9003.
Most Experienced Provider of Electroless Nickel in North America
KC Jones brings more than six decades of expertise to plating projects and offers a wide range of functional coatings. It operates several rack and barrel systems primarily for Big 3 automotive and for tier one suppliers. KC Jones operates three electroless nickel lines at Hazel Park (including aluminum capabilities). It has a fourth electroless nickel line at C&R Plating, in Indiana.
Electroless Nickel Plating
Electroplating coats with uniform thickness on irregularly shaped parts as plating solutions circulate freely over surfaces.
Electroless nickel is a dense, nickel alloy composed of nickel and phosphorus. Phosphorus quantities range from 2% to 14%, depending on the specific application and performance requirements.
- Low Phosphorus (2-5%)
- 2 to 4 % P coatings are microcrystalline and possess high as-plated hardness (620 to 750 HK 100). It is used in applications requiring abrasion and wear resistance.
- Lower phosphorus deposits between 1 and 3 % P are also microcrystalline. They are used in electronic applications and provide solderability, bondability, increased electrical conductivity, and resistance to strong alkali solutions.
- Mid Phosphorus (5-9%)
- Most widely used to meet general wear and corrosion resistance requirements. Commonly used in automotive applications.
- High Phosphorus (10-14%)
- Commonly used in the Oil & Gas industry due to superior salt-spray and acid resistance.
- Coatings with more than 10 % P have superior salt-spray and acid resistance in a wide range of applications. They are used on beryllium and titanium parts for low stress properties.
- Coatings with more than 11.2 % P are not considered ferromagnetic.
Explore Electroless Nickel Plating Properties
|Nickel, % (mass)|
97 – 99
88 – 89.5
|Phosphorus, % (mass)|
1 – 3
5 – 10
10.5 – 12
|Micro hardness without heat treatment|
56 – 61 Rockwell C
47 – 52 Rockwell C
46 – 51 Rockwell C
|Micro hardness with heat treatment|
(Heat treated @ 400°C for 1 hour)
65 – 69 Rockwell C
65 – 67 Rockwell C –
63 – 67 Rockwell C
|Melting point, oC|
|Resistance to Abrasion|
|Resistance to Corrosion (NSS per ASTM B-117) – 1 Mil thickness|
48-96 Hours +
48 – 96 Hours +
1,000 Hours +
(Taber Wear Index)
15-20 TWI / 8-12
20-25 TWI / 10-15
18-24 TWI/ 9-15
|Nitric Acid Test|
- Taber Wear Index (TWI) is the weight loss in mg per 1000 cycles against CS10 wheels
- Note: (heat treated @ 400°C, 1 hour) (as plated)
- Nitric Acid test is the ability of an EN deposit to stand immersion in concentrated nitric acid for 30 seconds or more before darkening
KC Jones employs newer, more environmental friendly processes for its electroless nickel. Regardless of the application, KC Jones EN meets the following initiatives, regulations and specifications:
- Automotive End of Life Vehicle (ELV)
- ELV Directive 2000/53/EC Annex II, June 2002
- Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)
- WEEE Directive 2002/96/EC
- Restriction of Hazardous Substances (ROHS)
- RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC
Willingness to accept specialized and complex projects has led to unique partnerships between KC Jones and many of the largest OEMs and chemical suppliers. Projects requiring advanced chemical, engineering, and plating expertise are fulfilled at state-of-the-art KC Jones facilities.