Plating Low Friction Coatings
Plating low friction coatings include electroless nickel plating (EN). For years, they have played an important role in the metal finishing industry, with surface characteristics well documented in an array of industrial applications.
While nickel, alone, intrinsically lubricates, it is the inclusions of particulate matter, such as PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) that create composite plating like nickel Teflon, or co-deposits of BN (boron nitride) that can dramatically affect frictional performance.
Friction is a highly system-dependent parameter. Coefficients between 0.04 and 0.10 (static or dynamic) are attainable. For best results, consider the structural relevancy of your base material and mated surface, including their respective micro finish.
Since EN (also known as autocatalytic plating) conform precisely by nature, be sure your surface finish is very good, free of imperfection or irregularities. Keep in mind, too, these finishes, if needed, can be polished mirror-like.
Compatible substrate for plating low friction coatings include most metals, alloys, even non conductive materials. Its process allows deep penetration of recessed surfaces, unlike electrolytic plating methods, like chrome. And, unlike chrome, these coatings require no re-machining or grinding to ensure dimensional integrity.
For original equipment manufacturers (OEM) many plating low friction coatings are 100% compliant with environmental directives like ELV or RoHS. For food equipment, they are non-objectionable with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), while many are regarded medically biocompatible for indirect tissue contact.