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Technical Paper

Zn-Ni Plating as a Cadmium Alternative

In a 2-year program sponsored by SJAC, an aqueous electroplating process using alkaline Zn-Ni with trivalent chromium post treatment is under evaluation for high strength steel for aircraft application as an alternative to cadmium. Commercial Zn-15%Ni rack/barrel plating solutions are basis for plating aircraft parts or fasteners. Brightener was reduced from the original formula to form porous plating that enables bake-out of hydrogen to avoid hydrogen embrittlement condition. Properties of the deposit, such as appearance, adhesion, un-scribed corrosion resistance, and galvanic corrosion resistance in contact with Al alloy, were evaluated. Coefficient of friction was compared with Cd plating by torque-tension measurements. Evaluation of the plating for scribed corrosion resistance, primer adhesion, etc. will continue in FY2007.