A versatile, proven, anti-corrosion solution.

The plating standard in the auto industry, zinc nickel has replaced cadmium to prevent corrosion in harsh environments. Plus, it can be formulated to meet a range of corrosion-resistant specifications in not only the auto industry, but also the electronic, aerospace, and defense industries.

Rack Alkaline Zinc Nickel Plating Clear Passivate

A high-performing anti-corrosion solution.

There are a wide array of zinc nickel applications for the automotive, electronic, aerospace, and defense industries. Automotive applications include fluid transfer tubes, which can be formed into their required shape after plating. Zinc nickel is used to plate fasteners for use in high corrosion areas (under the hood and chassis joints). In electronics, zinc nickel is used to plate connectors, where it has been used as a direct cadmium replacement. Zinc nickel delivers corrosion resistance and high electrical conductivity. Its aerospace and defense applications include joining components to aluminum.

In some areas of North America and Europe, automobiles are exposed to severe conditions. During the winter especially, municipalities spread salt, calcium chloride, and sand for road safety. Sand particles breach exposed surfaces, causing erosion and surface cavities. Zinc nickel plating therefore has become the corrosion-resistant solution for automotive components to protect against these environments.

Zinc nickel has received increasing commercial acceptance over the past 20 years. Various industries pushed concertedly for higher corrosion performance. They sought solutions that would go beyond the capabilities of zinc, and/or even replace cadmium. The automotive industry was a key driving force because car manufactures have sought to extend their warranties and reduce warranty claims for some time.

Parts rack plated with alkaline zinc nickel with a black finish

Zinc Nickel Plating Specifications & Benefits

  • Increased corrosion protection, often 5-6x greater corrosion protection vs. standard zinc plating.
  • Highest performance and tolerance to elevated temperatures, excellent for components exposed to high heat such as in the engine compartment. 
  • Superior abrasion and scratch resistance with hardness values of (350-450 Kg/mm2 Vickers).
Fasteners with Barrel Alkaline Zinc Nickel Plating

KC Jones Offers Acid & Alkaline Zinc Nickel Processes

Alkaline Zinc Nickel (12-18% Ni)

  • Superior ductility – critical to successful plating of fluid lines, fittings, and other tubular items: components that must endure extreme pressures and secondary processing, and that must also maintain corrosion performance.
  • Highest corrosion resistance
  • Highest hardness properties compared to all zinc & zinc alloys. 
  • Provides superior anti-scratch performance.

Acid Zinc Nickel (12-18% Ni)

  • Used primarily on cast iron components, high carbon steel, and carbo-nitrided steels
  • Most notably used on brake calipers
  • Provides high deposit brightness, brake fluid compatibility, chip resistance, hot-dust resistance, and paint adhesion

Trivalent Passivation Options

  • Clear-Blue, Transparent 
  • Yellow, Iridescent
  • Black
Acid Zinc Nickel Plated Parts

KC Jones Zinc Nickel Replaces Cadmium IN the Aerospace Industry

To perform safely in service, landing gear components, manufactured from high-strength steel alloys, require sacrificial protective coatings. Today, cadmium is used on high-strength steel aircraft landing gears. It is a sacrificial, protective coating that prevents corrosion. Unfortunately, cadmium is also extremely hazardous to the environment and to human health. It is a known carcinogen that has been associated with respiratory tract problems, kidney failure, liver damage, and bone mineral density loss.

Cadmium has been the standard coating for high-strength steel alloy components for decades. It has now, however, been targeted for elimination by the United States Air Force (USAF).

Zinc nickel has a much lower environmental impact than cadmium. Low-hydrogen embrittlement (LHE) alkaline zinc-nickel specifically complies with USAF environmental objectives. It meets each of the performance requirements of the original designs for high-strength alloys. That means this formulation is approved for plating landing gear components and enables manufacturers to cease the use of cadmium.

Aerospace industry deems KC Jones zinc nickel to be a direct replacement for cadmium plating for the following reasons:

  • Sacrificial to steel (upon corrosion)
  • Slow corrosion (with long life in saltwater)
  • Drop-in replacement capabilities
  • Non-embrittling (to high-strength steel)
  • Much lower environmental impact than cadmium