Nickel Coating Technology – Nickel is a metal which lends itself to the electroless plating methods employed by MTL for particle coating. It has the potential to be used in a number of application areas, not least as a cheaper alternative to conductive silver.
However, in this particular application, nickel demonstrates gradual surface ‘passivation’ and the level of conductivity decays over a relatively short time. This may be an issue which could be resolved through further development work.
Nickel coated hollow glass microspheres also have ferromagnetic properties, which MTL has investigated with respect to their use in low density materials for radar absorption. Unfortunately, the frequency bands of interest in ‘stealth’ applications are not strongly absorbed by the nickel composites prepared using MTL materials. This application may be better served by the iron coating technology developed by MTL .
There could be potential in the use of light weight cores coated with relatively thick nickel layers e.g. up to 10 microns. These materials could be used in inductive heating applications where the relatively low thermal mass of the coated low density core would be of advantage in rapid temperature cycling. Opportunities still exist in this area and MTL have established methods for the preparation of coated particles of the necessary specification.