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Electroless Nickel Phosphorus Plating on AZ31

ABSTRACT

One of the major drawbacks to using magnesium parts in automotive applications is poor corrosion resistance, which can be improved with a nickel-boron coating placed on a nickel-phosphorus coating, which, in turn, is placed on a phosphate-permanganate conversion-coating layer produced on the magnesium alloy AZ31. This work reports on the determination of the optimum kinetic parameters for producing a coherent nickel-phosphorus coating using an electroless-procedure phosphate-permanganate conversion-coating layer and for studying the effects of the experimental variables of the electroless plating process on the phosphorus content, surface morphology, and structure of the electroless nickel-phosphorus (EN-P) coatings produced. Measurements of the plating rate as a function of experimental variables such as the compositions of the plating bath constituents, temperature, and pH were implemented using the weight-gain method; the phosphorus content of the EN-P coatings was measured using energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) analysis. The surface morphology of the coating was examined using a scanning electron microscope (SEM); X-ray diffraction (XRD) was used to characterize the structure of each coating. An empirical rate law was determined for EN-P plating on a phosphate-permanganate conversion coating. It is found that the deposition rate of the EN-P coating increases by increasing the deposition temperature, the concentration of free nickel ions, and the concentration of hypophosphite ions in the plating bath. In addition, the deposition rate decreases by increasing both the plating bath pH and the concentration of citric acid in the plating bath.