Monitoring of zincate pre-treatment of aluminium prior to electroless nickel plating

S. Court, C. Kerr, James Smith, Carlos Ponce de Leon, Des Barker, F.C. Walsh

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Zincating is used as a pre-treatment for aluminium prior to electroless nickel deposition during preparation of magnetic computer memory discs. Four immersion zincating solutions were evaluated at 22 °C using single step or double zincating followed by electroless nickel deposition from a high phosphorus hypophosphite bath at 90 °C. The coating process was monitored by potential vs. time curves obtained under open-circuit conditions during zincating then electroless nickel plating. The surface morphology of the aluminium, at various stages, was imaged by scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. Zero resistance ammetry was used to record galvanic currents between the aluminium and an inert platinum counter electrode during zincating. This together with potential-time measurements provided simple and valuable methods for following the zincating process and subsequent electroless Ni plating. Double zincating enabled a shorter induction time for electroless Ni deposition and resulted in a more complete coverage of the surface by Zn.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalTransactions of the Institute of Metal Finishing
Issue number2
Early online date2 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Electrode potential
  • Electroless nickel
  • Immersion plating
  • Process monitoring


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