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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

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

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

Preplate Neutralizer

Reduces any residual Hexavalent Chromium trapped in the pores.

Prepares the surface for Activation of the Catalyst Hydrochloric (Muriatic) based Room Temperature to 110 F 2-4 minutes

Preplate Activation or Catalysis

Seeds the surface pore structure with a colloidal hydrosol of ionic Palladium surrounded with a Tin shell. Part absorbtion of the catalyst results in a color change. SKIP PLATE can be detected here. 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

Preplate - 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 - Electroless Copper

2 HCHO + 4 OH- > 2 HCOO- + 2 H20 +2H-

2 H - + CU ++ > CU + H 2
Copper Chloride,Formaldehyde,Sodium Hydroxide, Chelators

100 - 110 F

8-10 minutes

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

Electroplate-Semi Bright Nickel

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

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

Electroplate - Particulate Nickel

Required Coating for Automotive and Plumbing Applications for Corrosion Protection
Coating Thickness of 0.1 mil 130 F 3-5 minutes

Electroplate - 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-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

Factors influencing Plate Distribution

Geometry of Application being Plated Location of the part in reference to 1.anodes 2.adjacent parts 3.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


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