ASTM-B733 Standard Specification for Autocatalytic (Electroless) Nickel-Phosphorus Coatings on Metal

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This specification establishes the requirements for autocatalytic (electroless) nickel-phosphorus coatings applied from acidic aqueous solutions to metallic products for use in engineering functions operating at elevated temperatures. The coatings covered here are alloys of nickel and phosphorus produced by self-sustaining autocatalytic chemical reduction with hypophosphite. The coatings are grouped into the following classification systems: types, which are based on the general composition with respect to phosphorus; service condition numbers, which are based on the severity of exposure to which the coating is intended to perform and the corresponding minimum thickness that will provide satisfactory performance; and post heat treatment class, which are based on post-plating heat treatment temperature and time to produce the desired adhesion and hardness improvements. Prior to plating, substrates should be pretreated by stress relief for reducing risks of hydrogen embrittlement, peening, and racking. The coatings shall be sampled and tested accordingly to evaluate both acceptance (appearance, thickness, adhesion, and porosity) and qualification requirements (composition, microhardness, and hydrogen embrittlement). Thickness shall be assessed either by microscopical method, a magnetic induction instrument, beta backscatter method, a micrometer, weigh-plate-weigh method, coulometric method, or X-ray spectrometry. Adhesion shall be examined either by bend, impact, or thermal shock tests. And porosity shall be inspected either by ferroxyl test, boiling water test, aerated water test, or alizarin test.




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1.1 This specification covers requirements for autocatalytic (electroless) nickel-phosphorus coatings applied from aqueous solutions to metallic products for engineering (functional) uses.

1.2 The coatings are alloys of nickel and phosphorus produced by autocatalytic chemical reduction with hypophosphite. Because the deposited nickel alloy is a catalyst for the reaction, the process is self-sustaining. The chemical and physical properties of the deposit vary primarily with its phosphorus content and subsequent heat treatment. The chemical makeup of the plating solution and the use of the solution can affect the porosity and corrosion resistance of the deposit. For more details, see ASTM STP 265 (1)2 and Refs (2) (3) (4) and (5).

1.3 The coatings are generally deposited from acidic solutions operating at elevated temperatures.

1.4 The process produces coatings of uniform thickness on irregularly shaped parts, provided the plating solution circulates freely over their surfaces.

1.5 The coatings have multifunctional properties, such as hardness, heat hardenability, abrasion, wear and corrosion resistance, magnetics, electrical conductivity provide diffusion barrier, and solderability. They are also used for the salvage of worn or mismachined parts.

1.6 The low phosphorus (2 to 4 % P) coatings are microcrystalline and possess high as-plated hardness (620 to 750 HK 100). These coatings are used in applications requiring abrasion and wear resistance.

1.7 Lower phosphorus deposits in the range between 1 and 3 % phosphorus are also microcrystalline. These coatings are used in electronic applications providing solderability, bondability, increased electrical conductivity, and resistance to strong alkali solutions.

1.8 The medium phosphorous coatings (5 to 9 % P) are most widely used to meet the general purpose requirements of wear and corrosion resistance.

1.9 The high phosphorous (more than 10 % P) coatings have superior salt-spray and acid resistance in a wide range of applications. They are used on beryllium and titanium parts for low stress properties. Coatings with phosphorus contents greater than 11.2 % P are not considered to be ferromagnetic.

1.10 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard.

1.11 The following precautionary statement pertains only to the test method portion, Section 9, of this specification. This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


autocatalytic; chemical nickel; coatings; conductive; corrosion resistance; electroless; functional; nickel; nickel phosphorus; wear resistance;; ICS Number Code 25.220.40 (Metallic coatings)

To find similar documents by ASTM Volume:

02.05 (Metallic and Inorganic Coatings; Metal Powders and Metal Powder Products)

To find similar documents by classification:

25.220.40 (Metallic coatings Including electrolytic depositions, cathodic coatings, autocatalytic coatings, etc.)

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Publication Date

Dec. 1, 2015

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14 pages

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