Nickel release failure analysis

We look for the origin of the nickel release failure in multilayer metal parts. We use techniques such as FESEM, EDX or corrosion analysis to understand why the failure is occurring and propose improvement solutions.


Objetive. Know the origin of nickel release

Our client, a jewelry manufacturer, has detected a release of nickel in its product that causes aesthetic changes and allergic reactions in the end user. Its objective is to know the origin of the failure and what possible solutions there are to prevent it from happening again. They need an agile and effective response since their product has a high value and quality failures are not allowed.

The production process is a complex and delicate process. The affected component is a multilayer product with noble metals to achieve high quality performance, durability and aesthetics.

Solution. Analysis by FESEM, EDX and corrosion to find the origin of the failure

The first step was to learn from our client both the materials, since it is a multi-layer material, and the production process. During the study we used samples with and without defects.

As a second step, we worked on the selection and definition of the trials that could provide us with information about the problem. We selected the use of FESEM with EDX as well as a corrosion evaluation test as characterization techniques.


After the exhaustive analysis of the production process and the results obtained after the different characterizations of both the surface of the samples and their cross section, we came to the conclusion that two of the metal layers that made up the product presented a chemical incompatibility, giving rise to to galvanic corrosion processes and, as a consequence, the appearance of unwanted products that led to the generation of defective surface processes in some cases.

As the final stage of the project, we searched and proposed different materials and layer combinations that would prevent or block the unwanted galvanic corrosion process observed in the defective samples. After the positive results of the implementation of these processes, we selected with the client those that altered the production process the least.

With all these changes, our client was able to quickly correct the failure so that its production was restored without further problems and with its usual high quality standards.