Zinc-Nickel Plating


While zinc and nickel are frequently used in industrial plating on their own, an alloy of the two metals offers a number of important benefits. In particular, a zinc-nickel alloy offers far superior corrosion protection than when using zinc alone, as the addition of nickel slows the zinc corrosion process. Passivation treatments and top coats can also be used to improve the long-term performance of the finish. When plating zinc-nickel, the alloy typically consists of a combination of 6-20% nickel and 80-94% zinc.


Zinc-nickel plating is widely used in the automotive industry, electrical industries to provide corrosion protection for various automotive parts. When plating zinc-nickel, it will serve as a sacrificial coating and corrode before the underlying base material. During salt spray testing, zinc-nickel coated parts can withstand the formation of white rust for up to 200 hours, and up to 1,000 hours for red rust.

In general, zinc-nickel plating is preferable to standard zinc plating in any situation where a zinc part or component comes in contact with aluminum. The zinc-nickel coating will slow the corrosion process in these instances. Zinc-nickel is also more capable of withstanding the higher temperatures produced by automotive engines than other zinc alloys such as zinc-cobalt or zinc-iron.


There are many other industrial zinc-nickel applications. The electrical transmission industry makes use of zinc-nickel plating in the manufacturing of anchors, coaxial cables and cleat bolts. The fastener, aerospace and defense industries have gravitated towards zinc-nickel plating as an eco-friendly replacement for cadmium plating. Zinc-nickel is compatible with the lighter metals that are normally used in aircraft manufacturing such as magnesium and aluminum.

This alloy is also frequently used on the tubing for fuel and hydraulic parts and components. Additional zinc-nickel plating applications include the manufacturing of firefighting and railway equipment, as well as commercial transportation vehicles such as buses, tractor trailers and light trucks.