What is Nickel Boron Nitride Coating Used For?

At ADV Plating, we provide various plating methods for your business’ unique and specific needs. This includes offering nickel boron nitride. This coating is a specialized surface treatment that continues to be used in industrial applications. It has gained popularity because of its many unique properties and advantages over other metal applications. In this post, we will discuss nickel boron nitride—what it is, its key properties, various application options, and the many benefits it has over alternative coatings, including anodizing and chrome.

What is nickel boron nitride coating?

Nickel boron nitride is best described as a composite material combining nickel with nitrogen elements and boron. When instruments and parts are coated with nickel boron nitride, the result is a hard and durable coating that can be used in many different applications.

What are the key properties of nickel boron coating that make it a reliable option for many industries?

Nickel boron nitride coating is known specifically for several key properties, including:

·         Low friction coefficient. This protects moving parts from wear and tear to extend their longevity.

·         Uniform thickness. Because the application of nickel boron nitride uses electroless plating, this ensures even and uniform coating on all shapes and surfaces.

·         Lubricity. When mechanical parts are coated with nickel boron nitride, they often do not need extra lubrication, saving time and costs.

·         Corrosion resistance. Parts and instruments used in harsh environments will benefit from nickel boron nitride coatings as they provide excellent protection against rust and corrosion.

·         Hardness. On the Rockwell Hardness Scale, or HRC, nickel boron nitride rates in levels over 70. This means high resistance to abrasion, scratching, and overall wear and tear.

What are some of the application options for nickel boron nitride coatings?

ADV Plating finds that there are several ways in which this coating can be used in different industries, including:

·         Firearms. Nickel boron nitride coating is commonly used in the firearms industry as coverage for triggers, bolts, bolt carriers, and other moving parts that require increased hardness and low friction properties. The corrosion resistance of nickel boron nitride also helps in ensuring durability of firearms over time.

·         Automotive. In the automotive industry, nickel boron nitride coatings are commonly used for various parts of the engine to reduce friction, improve wear, and avoid corrosion. Camshafts, pistons, crankshafts, and other vital engine components can last longer with this particular coating, ensuring longevity and overall improved performance.

·         Aerospace. The aerospace industry is best known for the need for materials and products that can withstand very extreme conditions and requiring high standards of performance. Using nickel boron nitride coatings for various parts of an aircraft, including the hydraulic system, landing gears, and turbine blades, ensures reliability and operation.

·         Industrial machinery. Industrial machinery benefits from certain coatings to reduce wear and tear and ensure long-term use. Certain elements and moving parts such as bearings, gears, and shafts will benefit from nickel boron nitride which can reduce downtime, maintenance, and low productivity.

·         Medicine. Many medical devices and instruments need to be biocompatible and durable. Many surgical instruments, including forceps and scalpels, benefit from nickel boron nitride coatings, as well as other parts and pieces that require enhanced strength and wear resistance.

What are the advantages of nickel boron nitride coatings versus more traditional coatings?

·         Versatility. Nickel boron nitride coatings allow for versatility, suitable for use over other metals including aluminum alloys and steel. They can also be used over non-metal material such as ceramics and plastics.

·         Performance. Because of the hardness of nickel boron nitride coatings, performance is improved significantly when compared to the performance of other non-superior materials and coatings.

·         Environmentally-friendly. Hard chrome plating and other coatings that have toxic chemicals such as hexavalent chromium, or Cr6+ can be harmful to the environment, while the process of applying nickel boron nitride coatings via electroless modalities are more environmentally-friendly.

What is the process of electroless nickel boron nitride coating?

ADV Plating can help in demystifying the electroless nickel boron nitride coating process so our clients can better understand how it is applied and used in various applications. This type of coating is a combination of two materials, nickel and boron nitride, that create a unique coating with properties such as high lubricity, wear resistance, and thermal stability.

·         Preparation. The first step in the process is surface preparation. This involves thoroughly cleaning the substrate to remove any contaminants that could interfere with the coating’s adhesion. Depending on the material being coated, this may involve chemical cleaning, mechanical abrasion, or both.

·         Coating. Next, a layer of nickel is deposited onto the cleaned substrate using an autocatalytic reaction. During this process, a reducing agent, such as hypophosphite, is used to achieve a uniform and completely even layer of nickel coating.

·         Incorporation of boron nitride. After the nickel coating has been applied, boron nitride particles are incorporated into the coating through a separate process. These particles are evenly dispersed within the coating and provide additional properties that make this coating so popular, including high lubricity and thermal stability.

·         Heat treatment. Once the nickel and boron nitride layers have been applied, the coated substrate is heat-treated to enhance its properties further. This step involves heating the substrate at high temperatures.  The heat treatment process can impact the coating’s microstructure, properties, and overall performance.

·         Final finishing. After heat treatment, the coated substrate is given a final finish to ensure its surface is smooth and free of any imperfections. This step also helps to improve the coating’s adhesion and durability.

Is nickel boron nitride coating right for my products?If you are an industrial or commercial business considering your options for metal coatings, we invite you to call ADV Plating to learn more about the choices available to you. Whether you are thinking about nickel boron nitride coatings for your parts and elements or want to explore other coating options, we can assist you in choosing the solution most appropriate for your company’s unique needs. Reach out to us today to request more information about the plating and coating choices we offer!