Journal of Metals, Materials and Minerals

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A palladium and tin-free process for the Ni electroless plating of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) polymer has been developed. The ABS was first etched then activated with Ni (or Co) ions. Ni or Co adsorbed was quantified by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Sodium borohydride solution was found to be effective in reduction of Ni (or Co) ions. By immersing in a Ni plating bath the Co (or Ni) can then auto-catalytically deposit a Ni film on the ABS. The amount and thickness of Ni film determined by SEM-EDX were the highest when using 3 g/L of nickel acetate solution, 0.5 M sodium borohydride solution at 60 s of the reduction time. Adhesion of Ni films was evaluated by the Scotch\tape test according to ASTM D3359, which indicated good adhesion between Ni film and ABS substrate. The adhesion strength of the Ni layer deposited was successfully compared with the adhesion of similar films deposited by the usual palladium-based seed process.

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