Even though it might sound complicated, electroless nickel boron nitride plating isn’t a plating that’s too hard to understand once it has been broken down into its basic parts of electroless nickel and boron nitride.
The first part entails an alloy of nickel and phosphorous that easily deposits itself on an object in a solution without the need for electricity. It’s a newer plating technology that allows for uniform coating, something that using electricity could never accomplish. Both inside and out and on any geometric surface, so long as the solution is covering everything, the coating will be even. In addition, nickel is the only one that will coat the inside of an object as well, making it the only option in certain situations.
Delving into this further, electroless nickel can be divided into three different types, low phosphorous, mid phosphorous and high phosphorous. This, of course, relates back to how much phosphorus is added to the solution as an alloy. The amount of phosphorous used further alters just what type of properties the object receives once coated.
When another ingredient is added to the electroless nickel pool, it becomes known as a composite electroless nickel. In these cases, distinct particles are added to achieve very specific results. Due to the nature of the method, the new particles are always evenly distributed through the electroless nickel, leading to an incredibly high bond strength and coatings that are highly regarded for their longevity and durability. Arguably, any particle could be used so long as it can withstand the bath conditions and are of an appropriate size. Today, the one that has proven to be the most impressive addition is boron nitride.
When boron nitride is added, it is only added to the point where it makes up 6 to 8% of the weight of the solution in a low to medium phosphorous measurement. In addition, these particles are considered to be ceramic, meaning they can withstand extreme temperatures. Boron nitride is specifically known to take on up to 3000 degrees Celsius before showing any structural breaks. This makes it great for use in high temperature coating situations.
Other features of this aspect include a low coefficient of friction, resulting in an object that now gains self-lubricating properties. It also leads to wear resistance and tends to outperform all other things that can be added to electroless nickel.
Electroless nickel boron nitride plating is a modern marvel in terms of what it is capable of adding to an object through plating. While certainly not done through simple processes, breaking it down for what it is makes it a bit easier to understand why it has become one of the most popular methods in modern plating.