PALLADIUM-NICKEL PLATING SERVICES
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…is a precious metal alloy often used as an alternative to Gold plating or a combination with Gold plating. ProPlate® uses Type II Pd-Ni, composed of 80% Palladium and 20% Nickel. Nickel is known for ductility resistance. When Nickel is combined with Palladium, the result is an alloy with excellent stress and heat resistance, corrosion resistance, electrical conductivity, ductility, and solder-ability.
Refer to ASTM B867 for more information. This is the most common specification related to Palladium-Nickel.
- Type I: 75% Palladium, 25% Nickel
- Type II: 80% Palladium, 20% Nickel
- Type III: 85% Palladium, 15% Nickel
- Type IV: 90% Palladium, 10% Nickel
Electroplated Palladium-Nickel alloys have a density between 10 and 11.5 kg/m3, far less than electroplated Gold, which is 17.0 to 19.3 kg/m3, and comparable to electroplated pure Palladium, which is 10.5 to 11.8 kg/m3. This allows a greater volume or coating thickness per unit, reducing metal weight. The hardness range of electro-deposited Palladium-Nickel alloy compares favorably with other electroplated noble metals and their alloys.
Electrical Contact Thickness VS Performance
Due to metallurgy, contact design, fabrication techniques, and quality, it is hard to specifically correlate the relationship between electrical contact performance and plating thickness. The thickness ranges of plated Pd-Ni deposits are typically used in the electronics industry are as follows.
- 0.8-3.0 microns- Printed circuit edge card connectors
- 0.8-1.5 microns- Low energy electrical contacts
- 0.4-0.5- microns- Electrical contacts where little adverse environmental, electrical, or mechanical action is expected
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There are several reasons to utilize a Nickel under-layer before plating Pd-Ni, and even most other precious metals. Nickel base layers and intermediate layers provide a diffusion barrier to prevent the migration of Copper (as a base substrate, for example) from diffusing through the top layer of Pd-Ni.
Another practical application of Nickel as an under-layer is to use it over a rough or porous base substrate to serve as a leveling layer which facilitates a smoother surface and will help mitigate risks associated with the potential porosity of the Palladium-Nickel top layer.
In a porous base material with a thin Pd-Ni plating deposit, a Nickel underplate layer before the Pd-Ni topcoat will form passive oxides in the open air at the base of pores. Provided the environment does not contain significant levels of strong acids such as SO2 or HCl, Nickel base layers can work as a corrosion inhibitor for porous base substrates and plating deposits.
A thin Gold over-plate is beneficial to enhance the performance of the Palladium-Nickel surface using two types of Gold. Type I gold is used in the critical areas with a thickness range of 0.05-0.12 microns. Type II gold is used in critical areas with a thickness of 0.05-0.25 microns. Gold plating over a Palladium-Nickel alloy deposit adds durability, enhanced mating forces, fretting resistance, enhanced corrosion resistance, improved solder-ability & join-ability, higher electrical conductivity, and thermal stability.
Palladium-Nickel has a higher coefficient of friction than Gold. An over-plate of Gold with the proper thickness reduces friction and enhances durability. The Gold over-plate provides low shear strength that reduces friction wear. Type I Gold plating should be used at a thickness of no more than 0.12 microns to maintain a low coefficient of friction. Pd-Ni should not be mated against itself in a sliding contact pair when wear resistance and durability to fretting are desired.
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Professional Plating, Inc. is dedicated to solving our customers’ toughest plating-related challenges by working with them on the front end of the design and engineering process. We engineer custom solutions designed specifically for your unique requirements. ProPlate® has pioneered selective precious metal plating innovations and continuously strives to improve your part’s application and performance while driving down costs.