Analysis and interpretation of the micromechanical properties measurements of electrodeposited nickel coatings on different substrates

  • Jelena Srecko Lamovec University of Criminal Investigation and Police Studies
  • jovana Djorović Amanović University of Criminal Investigation and Police Studies
  • Ivana Mladenović ICTM-Department of Microelectronic Studies, University of Belgrade
  • Nebojša Nikolić ICTM-Department of Electrochemistry, University of Belgrade
  • Dana Vasiljević Radović ICTM-Department of Microelectronic Studies, University of Belgrade
  • Vesna Radojević Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, University of Belgrade
Keywords: Vickers microhardness, composite hardness, nickel electrodeposition, film adhesion, critical reduced depth


Fine-grained nickel coatings were electrodeposited by direct current (dc) regime onto different substrates: polycrystalline cold-rolled copper, polycrystalline brass and single crystal (100)-oriented silicon. These composite structures belong to different type of laminated composite systems. The influence of the substrate material and coating plating parameters on microstructural and mechanical properties, such as hardness and adhesion, was characterized by the Vickers microindentation test for different loads. Above critical indentation depth (usually around 10% of the coating thickness), the measured hardness is so-called “composite hardness”, because the substrate participates in the plastic deformations during indentation. Three composite hardness models (Korsunsky, Chicot-Lesage and Chen-Gao), constructed on different principles, were chosen for fitting the experimental results in order to determine the coating hardness and the critical reduced depth as the adhesion parameter. The coating hardness is mainly influenced by the current density, because increase in current density leads to decrease in grain size and increase in coating hardness. The critical reduced depth as the parameter of adhesion depends on the substrate material.


1. Cammarata, R.C. (1994), Mechanical properties of nanocomposite thin films, Thin Solid Films, 240:82-87,
2. Chen, M., Gao, J. (2000). The adhesion of copper films coated on silicon and glass substrates , Modern Physics Letters B, 14(3): 103-108.,
3. Chicot, D., Lesage, J., (1995), Absolute hardness of thin films and coatings, Thin Solid Films, 254:123-130,
4. Datta, M., Landolt, D. (2000). Fundamental aspects and applications of electrochemical microfabrication, Electrochimica Acta, 45: 2535-2558.,
5. Ebrahimi, F., Bourne, G.R., Kelly, M.S., Matthews, T.E. (1999). Mechanical properties of nanocrystalline nickel produced by electrodeposition, Nanostructured materials, 11(3): 343-350.
6. Fritz, T., Mokwa, W., Schnakenberg, U. (2001). Material characterisation of electroplated nickel structures for microsystem technology, Electrochimica Acta 47: 55-60.
7. Hou, Q.R., Gao & Li, S.J., (1999). Adhesion and its influence on micro-hardness of DLC and SiC films, Eur.Phys.J.B., Vol.8, pp.493-496.,
8. Korsunsky, A.M., McGurk, M.R., Bull, S.J., Page, T.F. (1998), On the hardness of coated systems, Surface and Coating Technology, Vol.99, Issues 1-2, pp.171-183. htps://
9. Lamovec, J., Jovic, V., Aleksic, R. & Radojevic, V., (2009), Micromechanical and structural proeprties of nickel coatings electrodeposited on two different substrates, J.Serb.Chem.Soc., 74(7)817-831,
10. Lamovec, J., Jović, V., Jaćimovski, S., Jovanov, G., Radojević, V., Šetrajčić, J. (2019), Hardness and assessment of adhesion of monolayer and multilayer nickel thin films electrochemically deposited on silicon substrates with and without the ultrasonic agitation, NBP, 24(1), pp.19-31,
11. Lamovec, J., Jović, V., Randjelovic, D., Aleksic, R., Radojevic, V. (2008). Analysis of the composite and film hardness of electrodeposited nickel coatings on different substrates, Thin Solid Films, 516: 8646-8654.,
12. Lesage et al. (2005), A model of hardness determination of thin coatings from standard micro-indentation tests, Surface and Coatings Technology, Vol.200, Issues 1-4, p.886.,
13. Lesage, J., Pertuz, A., Puchi-Cabrera, E.S., Chicot, D. (2006). A model to determine the surface hardness of thin films from standard micro-indentation tests, Thin Solid Films 497: 232-238.,
14. Lewis, P.R., Reynolds, K., Gagg, C., (2004). Forensic Materials Engineering, case studies. CRC Press, ISBN 0-8493-1182-9
15. Li, H., Bradt, R.C. (1993). The microhardness indentation load/size effect in rutile and cassiterite single crystals, J. Mater. Sci., 28: 917- 926.
16. Magagnin, L., Maboudian, R., Carraro, C. (2003). Adhesion evaluation of immersion plating copper films on silicon by microindentation measurements, Thin Solid Films, 434: 100-105.,
17. Mittal, K.L. (1976), Adhesion measurements of thin films, Electrocomponent Science and technology, vol.3, pp.21-42,
Innovative Techniques and Equipment in Forensic Engineering