NiCom Alternative Coatings Overview

What is NiCom?

NiCom (Nickel Silicon Carbide) plating is an electro-composite coating – consisting of a nickel metal matrix with hard particulate dispersed uniformly within it. The process involves electroplating nickel in the presence of hard particulates, such as SiC, under conditions allowing the hard particulate to co-deposit with the nickel. The result is an electroplated composite material where engineering thickness can be achieved for both original equipment manufacturing (OEM) or overhaul and repair (O&R).

Electro-composite materials, such as NiCom, are viable alternatives to hard chrome plating due to their excellent wear resistance. Superior sliding wear characteristics are achieved due to the hard particulates dispersed within the metal matrix. Mating components ride on the hard particles, which can vary from SiC to BN to diamond depending on the wear condition application, resulting in wear 5 to 10 times better than Chrome.

Features & Benefits of NiCom (Nikasil) Plating

  • Sliding wear resistance usually 2 to 10 times better than chromium
  • Build up possible up to 0.030″+
  • Outstanding corrosion resistance
  • Superior adhesion to all metals including aluminum and titanium

Once the NiCom coating has been applied, it can be diamond honed or ground to finish dimension to meet surface finish requirements.

NiCom (Nikasil Plating) Properties

  • Frictional properties are very good, and the coating has excellent oil retention due to the oleophilic nature of nickel and silicon carbide (Nikasil). The coefficient of friction can be further enhanced by adding laminar lubricants to the deposit.
  • Hardness: 500-625 HVN100
  • Corrosion resistance is outstanding and is superior to electroless nickel and chromium when in the presence of chlorides (pH).

What Applications Use NiCom Coatings?

Common applications of NiCom (nikasil plating ) are found in bores of internal combustion engines with uses ranging from drone cylinders to snowmobiles to high performance race cars. Most any cylinder bore/piston application where sliding wear resistance is important is a candidate for NiCom electro-composites.

What Are The Advantages Of NiCom (Nikasil Plating)?

NiCom (nikasil plating) is applied up to 10x the thickness of chromium, making it especially ideal for sliding wear applications under a wide range of loads. NiCom’s superior wettability offers outstanding frictional characteristics. With its oleophilic properties, NiCom maintains hydrodynamic lubrication easier than its counterparts. This feature accounts for its extensive use in internal combustion cylinders (both 2 stroke and 4 stroke), oil well tubes and hydraulic equipment.

NiCom also offers incredible corrosion resistance and higher operating temperatures. Nickel Composite Coatings (Nikasil) are also substantially more eco-friendly than other options.