Hardening effect induced by incorporation of SiC particles in Ni electrodeposits

E.A. Pavlatou, M. Stroumbouli, P. Gyftou, N. Spyrellis

Journal of Applied Electrochemistry (2006), 36, 385-394

Pure Ni and nickel matrix composite electrocoatings containing micron- and nano-SiC particles (1μm and 20nm respectively) were produced under direct and pulse current conditions from an additive-free Watts type bath. The effect of the particle size, codeposition percentage of SiC and type of imposed current on the microhardness as well as on the microstructure of the electrodeposits were investigated. Ni/SiC composite deposits prepared under either direct or pulse current conditions exhibited a considerable strengthening effect with respect to pure Ni coatings. The improved hardness of composite coatings was associated to specific structural modifications of Ni crystallites provoked by the adsorption of H+ on the surface of SiC particles, thus leading to a (211) texture mode of Ni crystal growth. Pulse electrodeposition significantly improved the hardness of the Ni/SiC composite coatings, especially at low duty cycles, in which grain refinement and higher SiC incorporation (vol.%) was achieved. The enhanced hardness of Ni/nano-SiC deposits, as compared to Ni/micron-SiC composites, was attributed to the increasing values of the number density of embedded SiC particles in the nickel matrix with decreasing particle size. In addition, the observed hardening effects of the SiC particles might be associated to the different embedding mechanisms of the particles, which could be characterized as inter-crystalline for micron-SiC and partially intra-crystalline for nano-SiC particles.

doi: 10.1007/s10800-005-9082-y

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