PLATING ON PLASTICS

Roland P Brassard Bayer Corporation

Topics of Discussion
Morphology of ABS and ABS / PC  Preplate Technology  Electroplate Technology  Straight thru vs Bulk processing  Principles of Electrochemistry

Transmission Electron Microscopy

Polymer structure of ABS
Polymer structure of ABS /PC

Scanning Electron Microscopy  Etch Characteristics of ABS Etch Characteristics of ABS / PC  .

Plating Processes  Straight Through Bulk Process  .

Straight Through Process Rack Plating  Continuous Process from Start to Finish  Minimum of Handling  Less time consuming  Most common method of Plating on Plastics  Storage reduced  .

Bulk Processing Labor Intensive  Storage facilities needed  Handling difficulties  Basket preplate  Rack electroplate  Accessory solutions  Normally 2 platers  Single type of Application  .

Preplate Technology Cleaners  Pre-etchant  Etchant  Neutralizer  Pre-Activator  Activator  Accelerator  Electroless Copper or Nickel  .

oils.and fingerprints from the surface  may contain surfactants  .Preplate Cleaners Can be Alkaline or Acidic  Used as degreasers to remove smudges.

Preplate Pre-Etchants for ABS Usually Acidic in Nature  Normally a dilute CRO3 / H2SO4 to initiate surface reactions and break the surface tension of the Plastic  150-155 F  2 .4 Minutes  .

Pre-Etchants for PC Can be either acidic or Alkaline  Usually an Organic solvent mixture  Necessary to pre swell the Polycarbonate to allow better attack of the Chromic / Sulfuric etchant on the rubber phase and create a good pore structure  .

Preplate Etchant Chromic Acid /Sulfuric Acid  150 -160 F  8-10 minutes  55-70 ounces/gallon Chromic Acid  15-17 % by volume Sulfuric Acid  .

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Prepares the surface for Activation of the Catalyst  Hydrochloric (Muriatic) based  Room Temperature to 110 F  2-4 minutes  .Preplate Neutralizer  Reduces any residual Hexavalent Chromium trapped in the pores.

 SKIP PLATE can be detected here.  Part absorbtion of the catalyst results in a color change.Preplate Activation or Catalysis “Seeds “ the surface pore structure with a colloidal hydrosol of ionic Palladium surrounded with a Tin shell.  RT to 105F 2-6 minutes  .

Preplate Acceleration  Normally an acidic solution or a Borohydryde which is used to remove a section of the TIN shell and expose the PALLADIUM particle to the surface Desensitizes the racks to prevent Plating of the vinyl coatings  125 F 1-2 minutes  .

Electroless Copper A Chemical Reduction Process  Metallic Salt is reduced to form a film across the entire application giving enough electrical conductivity to allow an electrical current to be applied for subsequent metallic layering  .Preplate .

Chelators 100 .+ CU ++ > CU + H 2 Copper Chloride.Electroless Copper 2 HCHO + 4 OH.+ 2 H20 +2H- 2 H .Formaldehyde.110 F 8-10 minutes .Sodium Hydroxide.Preplate .> 2 HCOO.

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Preplate -Electroless Nickel Same principles as Electroless Copper  Alkaline Solution  reducing agent is Sodium Hypophosphite  Room Temperature to 90 F  6-10 minutes  very stable solution  .

Electroplate Technology Copper Strike  Acid Copper  Semi.Bright Nickel  Bright Nickel  Particulate Nickel  Decorative Chromium  .

Electroplating Cycle  Interior Finish Copper strike Acid Copper Bright Nickel Decorative Chrome  Exterior Finish Copper Strike Acid Copper Semi Bright Nickel Bright Nickel Particulate Nickel Decorative Chrome           .

Copper or Nickel Strike First Electrolytic Coating  Low Current Amperage  Coating Buildup as lattice work is forming  Copper Sulfate + Sulfuric Acid + Water with or without Brighteners  80 F 3-5 minutes  .

Electroplate -Bright Acid Copper Thickest Single Coating 0.7-0.8 mils  Very Ductile Coating  Ability to Flex under temperature change during Thermocycling  Excellent leveling  Copper Sulfate + Sulfuric Acid + Water Brightener System  80 F 22-45 minutes  .

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Electroplate-Semi Bright Nickel Second Thickest Coating 0.5 mils  more ductile than bright nickel  protects the underlying Copper from oxidation  Nickel Sulfate.Brightener system  130 F 15-30 minutes  .Nickel Chloride.Water Boric Acid.

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Electroplate .Bright Nickel Coating Thickness of 0.3 mils  Gives Bright Mirror Like Finish  Highly Corrosive due to the Brightener system (highly sulfonated)  Not very ductile  Same components as Semi Bright Nickel concentrations different as are brighteners  130 F 10-20 minutes  .

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Electroplate .Particulate Nickel  Required Coating for Automotive and Plumbing Applications for Corrosion Protection Coating Thickness of 0.1 mil 130 F 3-5 minutes   .

Decorative Chrome Final Coating in the Electroplating Process  Thinnest Layer 0.01 mils  Corrosion resistant  Hardness  Not ductile  Hexavalent or Trivalent Chrome  High Currents needed  .Electroplate .

Electroplate-Decorative Chrome  Cathodic Reactions CR2O7= +14 H+ +12 (e) > 2CRo + 7 H2O Side Reactions 2 H+ 2 (e) > H2 CR2O7= + 14 H ++6(e) > 2CR++++7H20  .

Service Requirements Adhesion of the Metal Plate to Substrate  Appearance / type of finish required  Thermocycle  CASS test  Canadian Standards  .

Racking Techniques  Enough contacts located in inconsequential areas are necessary to distribute the electrical current evenly Design of the application will warrant whether auxillary anodes are necessary for proper coverage  .

adjacent parts 3.Factors influencing Plate Distribution Geometry of Application being Plated  Location of the part in reference to 1.anodes 2.tank walls 4.Plating Solution Characteristics  .

Auxilliary Anodes Used promarily to give a bright mirror like finish to areas normally not capable of due to design Increases plate distribution to these areas .

Shields Used to limit the current distribution at high current areas: primarily edges .