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ArticleName Durable light-absorbing coatings for structural steels
DOI 10.17580/cisisr.2020.01.14
ArticleAuthor A. A. Abrashov, N. S. Grigoryan, T. A. Vagramyan, E. A. Shcherbina

D. Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia (Moscow, Russia):

A. A. Abrashov, Cand. Eng., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Innovative Materials and Corrosion Protection, E-mail:
N. S. Grigoryan, Cand. Chem., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Innovative Materials and Corrosion Protection, E-mail:
T. A. Vagramyan, Dr. Eng., Prof., Head of Dept. of Innovative Materials and Corrosion Protection, E-mail:
E. A. Shcherbina, Post-graduate, Dept. of Innovative Materials and Corrosion Protection, E-mail:


A black nickel plating process has been developed to install highly durable, adhesive and protective coatings on the following steel grades: 50A and 50RA, 09G2S, Steel 20, Steel 30, 08Kh17. Nickel sulphate electrolyte with the following composition was used as the base solution (g/L): NiSO4·7H2O — 100; (NH4)2SO4 — 15; ZnSO4·7H2O — 40; NH4CNS — 15; H3BO3 — 25, at рН = 4.5–5.5, temperature — 50 °С. The following process conditions are associated with the widest current density range (0.1 to 3.0 A/dm2) for black coatings: zinc sulphate concentration — 30–50 g/L, ammonium thiocyanide concentration — 15–20 g/L, pH — 4.5 to 5.5, temperature — 45 to 50 °С. However, such coatings are less protective or durable than black chromium coatings. A two-stage current mode has been selected to produce black coatings: Stage I — During the initial 10 minutes the current density is slowly increasing from i1 = 0.02 A/dm2 to i2 = 0.2 A/dm2, Stage II — the current density is drastically raised to i3 = 1.5 A/dm2, and the process continues for 10 more minutes. During Stage I, when the current densities are relatively low, an interlayer of light nickel is deposited ensuring good adhesion to the substrate. During Stage II, when the current densities are higher, a black coating is formed of up to 1 μm thick, which consists of metallic nickel and zinc, as well as nickel and zinc sulphides. It is demonstrated that black coatings form due to a drastic rise in zinc concentration in the coating, as well as to the development of roughness caused by current surge. It is shown that the resultant black nickel coatings are not only comparable with but they can also outperform black chromium coatings in terms of protective capacity and durability.

This research was funded by D. Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia. Project No. 016-2018.

keywords Electroplating of metals, black nickel coatings, light-absorbing coatings, black nickel, solar receivers, wear-resistant coatings, nickel plating

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Full content Durable light-absorbing coatings for structural steels