We want to plate electroless nickel directly onto zincated aluminum. Can this be done or must we first plate with a cyanide copper strike? D. D.
Yes, you can plate directly on zincated aluminum with electroless nickel. To improve adhesion, the parts should undergo a low-temperature bake after the plating is completed.
If you decide, instead, to use a copper strike, you should be aware that a number of vendors have non-cyanide alkaline copper strike baths that work very well.