Testing For Additives



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Q: Are there any easy methods for testing of plating bath additives? I am particularly interested in testing for brighteners used in our nickel plating baths. C.E.P.


A: Most additives used in plating baths are proprietary in nature. In order to find a testing method for these materials you will first have to know what the material is that you are testing for and then develop a test for it.
A chemist with suitable laboratory equipment should be able to determine what the material is and probably could devise a test for it. However, I do not believe that this is a good way to spend your time and money. You might be able to obtain information about testing for these additives from your vendor. If your vendor cannot or will not help you, then you should consider a different approach to monitoring your additives, such as using a Hull Cell on a daily basis to monitor your brighteners.

An excellent solution to this problem is one that involves equipping your tanks with pumps that can feed brightener into your plating baths based on the number of ampere-hours that pass through the plating tank. You can purchase ampere-hour meters that are designed to tabulate the number of ampere-hours. After you set the system up you should monitor the brightener level using a Hull cell and adjust the pumping rate of brightener based on your Hull cell tests.

You can find vendors of pumps and amp hour meters by doing a search of the vendor database at www.pfonline.com. 

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