tin plating for corrosion resistance

Nickel Plating Services


Nickel Plating FAQ’s

Selective Plating provides coil-to-coil nickel plating in matte and bright finishes using sulfamate bath technology.  Our nickel plating conforms to ASTM B689 Type I requirements.

What is nickel plating?

Nickel plating provides a relatively hard, yet ductile surface of pure nickel metal.  The Type I specification uses no brightening agents in the bath and yields a more ductile deposit.  The Type II specification uses brightening agents and yields a harder, smoother & more reflective finish.

Type I nickel is often used as an under-plate to inhibit zinc migration is brass alloys.  It has also been shown to mitigate the formation of whiskers when over-plated with 100% tin.

Type II nickel is usually used as a top plate and provides superior corrosion resistance and a low coefficient of friction.  It is also used as an appearance-critical top plate due to the desirable reflective surface.

For carbon steel, stainless steel and other nickel-bearing alloys a Woods Nickel bath is used to provide a thin “flash” under-plate before plating tin, copper or other finishes.  This is necessary to provide adhesion of the next layer and does not qualify as an ASTM B689 deposit.

What are the advantages of nickel as an under-plate?

A common practice in the plating industry is to use a copper flash under-plate before plating the tin, nickel or other metal.  A heavier copper layer may also be specified.  Another option per ASTM B545 is to use a thinner layer of nickel.

A nickel under-plate provides the following advantages:

  • Slows zinc migration in applicable alloys.

Tin attracts the zinc in the base metal causing it to slowly migrate toward the surface.  The nickel layer acts as a barrier layer and will greatly improve the shelf life solderability of the plated material.  A 50 micro-inch thick layer is generally recommended.

  • Highly solderable.

The use of a pure nickel layer under-plate is easily soldered using common practices.

  • Provides a more uniform appearance of tin plating.

Slight imperfections in the surface of the base metal can be overcome with a uniform nickel under plate.

  • Corrosion resistance

Nickel offers superior corrosion resistance when a passive layer forms on top of an exposed under-plate.

Is Selective’s nickel plating RoHS compliant?

Yes.  Our nickel plating deposits conform to RoHS and other similar hazardous material control specifications.  Certificates of analysis can be provided as proof of compliance.  See our Quality page for more information.

How does Selective certify nickel plating thickness?

Nickel plating thickness is certified with each customer order with a certification document.  Measurements are made according to ASTM B568 using X-ray fluorescence, ASTM B504 using the coulometric method or a calculated thickness depending on the base metal alloy.  Each coil processed is checked for conformance to the customer-supplied thickness requirement.

How does Selective certify nickel plating adhesion?

Nickel plating adhesion is measured using the Bend Test as outlined in ASTM B571.  Each coil processed is tested for conformance.

Can Selective certify the origin of the nickel used in its processes?

There is a legitimate concern that the metal ore may originally be mined in certain “areas of conflict” that are undesirable countries with which to do business.  Selective does not purchase any metal originally mined or subsequently processed in any of these parts of the world.  A letter is available certifying this fact from our nickel metal supplier.  You can download a PDF copy of it directly from our website by clicking on the Material Origin link on the Quality page.

Can Selective supply MSDS sheets for plated metal?

Yes.  Selective offers MSDS sheets from our metal suppliers.  Also, an MSDS sheet for each metal as plated isavailable.  Go to the MSDS link on our Quality page.


Selective Plating, Inc.
240 South Lombard Rd.
Addison, IL  60101
Ph: 630.543.1380   Fax: 630.543.1392