Dr. A.

Topic: Nickel plating on heaters

When we drained a system today to do some maintenance on it, we noted that our dummy plate came in contact with our titanium heater causing quite a bit of nickel to plate on it.  Is there a safe way to strip the nickel off the heater?  Our chemistry handbook notes that titanium is soluble in dilute acid.  Does that mean I could strip it in dry nitric?   We occasionally strip carbon steels in dry nitric without an issue so I was wondering if I could do it here.  We also use nickel strippers too, but because this would take so much longer I don't want to get into them unless necessary.  Any other ideas?


Re: Nickel plating on heaters

I would simply run a small wire from the anodes to the heaters or somehow make an electrically conductive connection from the anode to the heater.  This will make the heaters anodic, causing the nickel to slowly dissolve away naturally.  By the way, this is a best practice for most plating baths to prevent bi-polar deposition of the metal onto the heaters.

You can try stripping the nickel in nitric acid, but depending upon the thickness, you may etch the titanium.

-Dustin Gebhardt, CEF

Advanced Manufacturing/Finishing Engineer


Sanford, NC


Re: Nickel plating on heaters

I agree with Dustin, the best way to avoid this is to ground the coil to the anode bar but you should also shield the coil from making contact with your cathode or parts or dummies.  Most platers put the coils behind the anodes or perforated plastic because if your part comes into contact with the grounded coil it could damage the coil.


Dr. A.

Re: Nickel plating on heaters

Thank you for the advice!  We built a polypro frame to go around the dummy so that it doesn't happen in the future. I put an old anode basket in dry nitric over the weekend and it was fine this morning, so we swapped out heaters and am going to try and strip this heater.