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Keywords:

  • atmospheric corrosion;
  • coatings;
  • gold;
  • nickel;
  • palladium

Abstract

This paper presents an investigation on the corrosion performance of Ni/Au, NiP/Au, Ni/NiP/Au and Ni/NiPd/Au electrical connector coating systems. The coating systems were exposed to 10 days Class III mixed flowing gas and were subsequently examined by X-ray diffraction, focused ion beam microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy to evaluate the performance of each coating system. The Ni/Au coating system showed the worst performance followed by NiP/Au and Ni/NiP/Au. The Ni/NiPd/Au coated connector materials exhibited the least surface corrosion and this was attributed to a number of factors including a thicker coating system, more compact gold layer with fewer defects and a reduction in the electrochemical potential difference between layers reducing the local cell effect.