Miccrolloy™ nickel boron (NiB) is an advanced, electroless nickel boron-alloy coating that is environmentally friendly and an ideal hard chrome replacement. Nickel boron is hard, wear resistant, and has a low co-efficient of friction. Miccrolloy is proprietary to KC Jones and it is unique to any other nickel boron formulation on the market.
Historically, corrosion protection solutions have contained toxins. In recent years, the EU’s End of Live Vehicle (ELV) directive and its Restriction of Hazardous Substance (RoHS) Directive banned the use of hexavalent chromium. These and other measures have caused manufacturers to seek alternative materials.
In many applications, nickel boron already serves as a hard chrome replacement. It is a coating that has all of the protective qualities of hard chromium, yet it is 100% environmentally friendly. Many other hard chrome replacements are expensive and at times still contain toxic powders.
Miccrolloy nickel boron is a proprietary, KC Jones, nickel boron formulation that withstands the most extreme wear, friction and abrasive environments. It is coated via an autocatalytic process that has multiple advantages over electroplating, high velocity oxygen-fuel (HVOF) thermal spray and physical vapor deposition (PVD). In fact, it outperforms almost every coating considered to be a chrome replacement.
Miccrolloy Nickel Boron Replaces the Need for Hard Chrome:
- Outperforms hard chrome and nickel-phosphorous (hardness/wear resistance)
- Withstands high temperatures (melting point of 1080°C)
- High hardness (Rockwell 70 C +)
- Greater abrasion and wear resistance
- Low coefficient of friction (rivals EN – Teflon™)
- Increased ductility due to unique columnar structure
- No hydrogen embrittlement (per ASTM 519)
- Heat dissipation properties
- Well-proven technology (conforms to ASTM B607 and AMS2433C)
Aerospace, Automotive and Defense Applications of Nickel Boron
Miccrolloy nickel boron has a wide range of applications. Since its introduction, the world’s leading aerospace, automotive, and defense units have entrusted KC Jones Plating with their high-volume orders. Nickel boron has been rapidly embraced by the aerospace and automotive industries because it is harder than hard chrome and has higher corrosion protection. In fact, nickel boron is becoming the most popular alternative to hard chrome plating. It has many more benefits for manufacturers than hard chrome.
KC Jones Plating spearheads worldwide research and development of nickel boron coatings. It aims to increase the performance of nickel boron, which is critical to many of today’s industries. KC Jones also has the capacity for accelerated application development. Parts plated with KC Jones’ Miccrolloy nickel boron have been installed by major OEM’s, including Airbus, Chrysler, General Motors, Space-X, and WMD Guns.
Nickel Boron – Engineered to Perform
For decades, electroless nickel-phosphorous (EN-P) was the standard nickel-based coating used by the majority of manufacturers. It was popular primarily due to corrosion, wear and abrasion-resistance properties. It was also liked for hardness. Still it was limited because it did not have the low coefficient of friction of hard chromium.
Boron alloys cause a change in structure when they are added to electroless nickel. They improve sliding friction characteristics and lead to lower heat levels in-application. In fact, nickel boron coatings have an ultra low co-efficient of friction, that rivals Teflon™. This is important to high wearing and rolling applications. The world’s leading manufacturers now consider nickel boron to be the premium coating of choice for high friction and wear applications.
It is important to understand that KC Jones Nickel Boron (NiB), is not the same as commercially sold electroless nickel phosphorous with boron-nitride (BN). Nickel boron and nickel phosphorus coatings have different deposit structures. Nickel boron is a true alloy and it does not require particles for the powerful properties it possesses. Electroless nickel-phosphorus deposits contain co-deposited particles of self-lubricating hexagonal boron nitride. Nickel-phosphorous with boron nitride does have benefits in certain applications however it is not the same coating as nickel boron.
Primary Features of Nickel Boron
- 4-5 wt.% boron and 95-96 wt.% nickel
- Coating uniformity (eliminates post-plate grinding and burnishing)
- Naturally lubricious (due to unique columnar structure)
- Applicable to
- Carbon steels and stainless steels
- Aluminum and aluminum alloys
- Inconel substrates
- Uniform coating thickness up to .005″ (on most complex geometries)
- Plated hardness: 650- 750 HV100
- Heat treated hardness: 1200 – 1300 HV100
Compare Nickel Boron to Other Similar Coatings
Nickel boron is electroplated and delivers an even coating on every surface of parts, including recessive areas, blind holes and sharp edges.
Hard chromium is electroplated and is a line-of-sight coating. This means high current-density areas get more plating than low current-density areas.
Electroless nickel phosphorous deposits are completely uniform just like electroless nickel boron. Still, when nickel boron is heat treated, it is harder than both electroless nickel-phosphorous and hard chromium.
Nickel boron’s uniform coating results in reduced expenses because post-plating work like grinding polishing and machining are not necessary.
KC Jones nickel boron conforms to material standards ASTM B607 and AMS2433C.
Matte, Polished and Black Nickel Boron Finishes
KC Jones is the only finishing company that can faithfully provide nickel boron to meet any surface finish requirement you require. It offers matte, polished, and black options.
Nickel Boron Engineered to your Application
KC Jones has engineered parts for thousands of applications, often updating and replacing older technologies like HVOF and hard chrome with nickel boron.
Many applications require post-finishing services to ensure specific surface requirements are fulfilled. KC Jones is the only nickel boron plating company capable of providing nickel boron coatings tailored precisely to the application.
Nickel boron is a highly unique coating that outperforms both hard chrome and electroless nickel-phosphorous in hardness and wear resistance. It is a lesser-known alternative to nickel phosphorous that provides longer machine runtimes, fewer breakdowns and improved part performance, since it is harder and more wear resistant. Nickel boron withstands higher temperatures and is more abrasion resistant.
For many years, aluminum and aluminum alloys were preferred over steel in applications where structural weight was an important economic factor. Still, it was low in hardness and had limited wear and abrasion resistance, which posed a significant problem. To resolve this, manufacturers would cover the aluminum and aluminum alloys they used with nickel boron, which provided both the hardness and wear resistance they needed.
Unique Columnar Structure of Electroless Nickel Boron
Nickel Boron has a columnar morphology due to the growth mechanism of the deposit. The columnar grain growth of the Ni-B deposits formed the surface of the coating a nodular (semi-hemispherical) structure. This surface texture can be described as cauliflower-like similer to an orange peel. This type of surface retains lubricants under conditions of adhesive wear. With the addition of lubrication, the spaces between each of the nodules act as localized reservoirs. This structure gives the coating its natural lubricating properties. The nodular structure reduces surface contact providing a low-friction surface and increased wear resistance.
The Development of Nickel Boron Coatings
Nickel boron was used in the 1960’s in Europe and the USA independently, by BASF and DuPont. It was used more commonly in Europe under the trade name, Nibodur. Initially, there were issues with nickel boron development that made it an inhibitive process. Most plating facilities were unable to run this process because it was difficult to control. Today, KC Jones is the only facility in the world that offers a stable and consistent nickel boron plating process. Its nickel boron process does not contain lead, which is banned by the RoHS and ELV directive. KC Jones Plating is also the only finishing company that continues to invest in the development of its nickel boron coatings. Latest developments in KC Jones nickel boron chemistry include:
- Black Nickel Boron
- Beginning 2015, KC Jones will offer nickel boron with a proprietary, non-reflective blackening treatment utilized in military and defense applications
- Electroless Nickel Boron – Boron Nitride Composite
- Increased hardness and lubricity from hexagonal boron nitride particles, at 10% by volume
A deep commitment to advancing nickel boron coating technology is the reason that each year KC Jones plates more square inches of nickel boron than any other company in the world. In-house experts at KC Jones, guide nickel boron development and a wide range of coating technologies.