Use of ultrasonic agitation in iron group alloy electrodepositions
The effects of ultrasonic agitation on deposition from two iron group alloy plating solutions, nickel-cobalt and bright nickel-iron, have been studied. Comparison has been made with deposits plated from the same solutions using controlled air agitation. The ultrasonic equipment employed had a fixed frequency of 13 KHz but the power output from each transducer was variable up to a maximum of 350 watts. The effects of air and ultrasonic agitation on hardness, ductility, tensile strength, composition, structure, surface topography, limiting current density, cathode current efficiency and macro-throwing power were determined. Transmission and scanning electron microscopy, electron-probe microanalysis and atomic absorption spectrophotometry have been employed to study the nickel alloy deposits produced. The results obtained show that the use of Ultrasonics increased significantly the hardness of both alloy deposits and altered their composition by decreasing the cobalt and iron contents from nickel-cobalt and nickeliron solutions respectively. The ductility of coatings improved but the tensile strength did not change very much. Ultrasonic agitation gave larger grained deposits than air and they seemed to have a lower stress. Dull cobalt-nickel deposits had a similar pyramidal surface topography regardless of the type of agitation but the bright appearance of the nickel-iron was destroyed by ultrasonic agitation; an unusual ribbed pattern was produced. The use of ultrasonic agitation permitted approximately a twofold increase in the plating current density at which sound deposits could be achieved but there was only a slight increase in cathode current efficiency. Macro-throwing power of the solutions was increased slightly by the use of ultrasonic agitation. ultrasonic agitation is an expensive means of agitating plating Solutions and would be worthwhile only if significant improvements in properties could be achieved. The simultaneous improvement in hardness and ductility is a novel feature that should have useful engineering applications.