Explanation for Bright Nickel Plating and Satin Nickel Plating

May 11, 2022

Explanation for Bright Nickel Plating and Satin Nickel Plating

Nickel plating is extensively used in a range of decorative applications. These include components for the automotive, cycle, and marine industries, household appliances, door furniture, hardware items, jewelry, and a wide variety of consumer items.
The principle purpose of decorative plating is to enhance the appearance and decorative appeal of the articles, however, the coatings may also be required to meet stringent performance criteria. The criteria may include adhesion, ductility, corrosion resistance, etc. depending on the application and service conditions.
In the majority of cases, the nickel is top-coated with chromium or with alternative final finishes.

Bright Nickel Plating
Nickel is most commonly applied as a bright coating. Highly lustrous coatings are achieved through the use of suitable addition agents in the plating solutions. Additionally, modern bright nickel plating solutions exhibit excellent ‘leveling’ properties (i.e. they have the ability to hide polishing lines and other surface imperfections). Bright nickel solutions are based on the ‘Watts’ formulation (refer to chapter on Chemistry) with the addition of brightening and leveling additives, stress control agents, and wetting agents. Commonly, the additives are supplied as proprietary products. These may also incorporate supplementary brighteners or additives to suppress the effects of impurities.

Satin Nickel Plating
Satin nickel processes produce attractive satin or semi-lustrous finishes. These effects are produced through the use of selected soluble organic additives in the plating solution or by additions of finely divided insoluble particles. Another process involves the use of emulsified liquid additives to produce the desired texture in the plate.

Satin nickel finds widespread use on doors, furniture, and other hardware items.