Zinc-Nickel (Zi-Ni) is the go-to, auto-industry solution for corrosion resistance. It was recently approved by Boeing as a cadmium replacement. Its performance can be formulated to meet a range of corrosion-resistant specifications.

Zinc-nickel is a high performance coating that provides exceptional corrosion protection in harsh environments. It can be formulated to meet a variety of corrosion resistance specifications.

There are a stream of zinc-nickel applications for the automotive, electronic, aerospace and defense industries. Automotive applications include, fluid transfer tubes, which can be formed into their required shape after plating. Zinc-nickel is used to plate fasteners for use in high corrosion areas (under the hood and chassis joints). In electronics, zinc-nickel is used to plate connectors, where zinc nickel has been used as a direct cadmium replacement. Zinc-nickel delivers corrosion resistance and high electrical conductivity. Its aerospace and defense applications include joining components to aluminum.

In certain regions of North America and Europe, automobiles are exposed to severe conditions. During the winter especially, municipalities spread salt, calcium chloride and sand for road safety. Sand particles breach exposed surfaces, causing erosion and surface cavities. Zinc Nickel plating therefore has become the corrosion resistant solution for automotive components to protect against these environments.

Zinc-nickel has received increasing commercial acceptance, over the past 20 years. Various industries pushed concertedly for higher corrosion performance. They sought solutions that would go beyond the capabilities of zinc, and/or even replace cadmium. The automotive industry was a key driving force because car manufactures have sought to extend their warranties and reduce warranty claims for some time.

Zinc-Nickel Benefits:

  • Resistant to various fuels and fluids used in automotive and aerospace
  • Excellent Corrosion Resistance
    • General automotive formula (exceeds 1,500 hours of salt spray per ASTM B117)
    • Typical aerospace formula (exceeds 3,000 in high atmospheric environments)
    • Excellent adhesion and corrosion resistance in high-temperature applications
  • Bendable and Deformable After Plating
    • KC Jones’ Alkaline Zinc-Nickel has greater bending properties than high-acid Zinc-Nickel (due to crystal structure)
    • Many OEMs bend, deform, and crimp zinc nickel-plated parts
  • Exceptional in High-Temperature Applications
    • Excellent heat and corrosion resistance
    • Zero peeling during quench testing
  • Alkaline Zinc-Nickel: Vickers Harness (Hv) of 350 – 450
    • Harder than zinc, zinc-nickel (acid), or zinc-iron
  • Non-Embrittling
    • Non-embrittling to high-strength steel
    • Meets requirements for non-embrittling process per ASTM F519
  • Trivalent Chromate (Cr3)
    • Hexavalent chrome-free
    • Provides 150-250 hours of additional salt spray resistance to 5% white rust
    • Clear-IridescentYellow-Iridescent, and Black Chromates are available
  • Zinc-nickel exceeds the following performance requirements:
    ASTM B841, AMS 2417, BAC 5680, BAC 5637, GS90010, PS-8955, GMW 4700, GMW 16730, HES D2003-04, NES M4060, HS-F22, TSH6530G, TL-244, WSA-M1P87-A1, WSS-M1P87-B1/B5, WSS-M21P44-A1/A4

Zinc-Nickel Plating

(Acid & Alkaline Zinc-Nickel Available)

Alkaline Zinc-Nickel (12-18% Ni)

  • Superior ductility – Critical to successful plating of fluid lines, fittings, and other tubular items; components that must endure extreme pressures and secondary processing, and that must also maintain corrosion performance.
  • Highest corrosion resistance
  • Highest hardness properties compared to all zinc & zinc alloys. Provides superior anti-scratch performance.

Acid Zinc Nickel (12-18%)

  • Used primarily on cast iron components, high carbon steel, and carbo-nitrided steels
  • Most notably used on brake calipers
  • Provides high, deposit brightness, bake fluid compatibility, chip resistance, hot-dust resistance, and facilitates paint adhesion

Zinc Leaves No Opportunity for Rust

Aerospace Industry Deems KC Jones Zinc-Nickel to be a Direct Replacement for Cadmium Plating

To perform safely in service, landing gear components manufactured from high-strength steel alloys, require sacrificial protective coatings. Today, cadmium is used on high-strength steel, aircraft landing gears. It is a sacrificial, protective coating that prevents corrosion. Unfortunately, cadmium is also extremely hazardous to the environment and to human health. It is a known carcinogen that has been associated with respiratory tract problems, kidney failure, liver damage, and bone mineral density loss.

Cadmium has been the standard coating for high-strength steel alloy components for decades. It has now however been targeted for elimination by the United States Air Force (USAF).

Zinc-nickel has a much lower environmental impact than cadmium. Low-hydrogen embrittlement (LHE) alkaline zinc-nickel, specifically complies with USAF environmental objectives. It meets each of the performance requirements of original designs for high-strength alloys. This formulation is approved for plating landing gear components and enables manufacturers to cease use of cadmium.


Aerospace Industry Deems KC Jones Zinc-Nickel to be a Direct Replacement for Cadmium Plating

  • Sacrificial to steel (upon corrosion)
  • Slow corrosion (with long life in saltwater)
  • Drop-in replacement capabilities
  • Non-embrittling (to high-strength steel)
  • Much lower environmental impact than cadmium

How Zinc Nickel Successfully Passes Cadmium Baseline Performance Parameters

  • Adhesion (FB571)
  • Hydrogen Embrittlement (ASTM F519)
  • Re-embrittlement (ASTM F519 and USAF DWG 9825019)
  • Fatigue (ASTM F466)
  • Corrosion (ASTM B117)
  • SO2 Corrosion (ASTM G86)
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