Roles of organic and inorganic additives on the surface quality, morphology, and polarization behavior during nickel electrodeposition from various baths: A review

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Electrochemistry




School of Engineering




Mohanty, U. S., Tripathy, B. C., Singh, P., Keshavarz, A., & Iglauer, S. (2019). Roles of organic and inorganic additives on the surface quality, morphology, and polarization behavior during nickel electrodeposition from various baths: A review. Journal of Applied Electrochemistry, 49(9), 847-870. Available here


During the hydrometallurgical processing of nickel from raw materials, the leach liquors are found to be contaminated with several impurities. These impurities in the electrolytic cell affect the deposition characteristics as well as the kinetics and mechanism of nickel electrodeposition process resulting in lower current efficiency (CE) and poor nickel deposits. In order to improve the quality of the nickel deposits, it is imperative to use organic additives in the nickel plating bath to improve the structural, mechanical, and morphological properties of the deposits. Furthermore, it is usually observed that in spite of various purification techniques like cementation and solvent extraction, metals obtained at the cathode are usually contaminated with inorganic impurities. This review thus presents a comprehensive overview of some important studies and investigations performed on various inorganic and organic additives employed in nickel electrodeposition processes from various baths such as Watts, sulfate, acetate, formamide, lactate, and baths containing ionic liquids. The presence of metallic (inorganic) impurities in industrial electrolytes is very common. Most of these impurities affect the deposit’s characteristics, CE, deposition overvoltage, and cathode purity. Addition of inorganic cations such as Al3+, Mg2+, Mn2+, and Zn2+ did not have a significant effect on the CE; nevertheless, the physical appearance and crystallographic orientation of nickel deposits were significantly affected. Organic additives are usually added to the nickel electrolytic bath to counter the harmful effects of these metallic impurities entrained in the bath, where they also affect the growth and crystal building of the deposits through their adsorption onto the cathode surface. Most of these additives act as hydrogen inhibitors, crystal growth modifiers, brighteners, levelers, wetting agents, and stress reducers, and hence, their appropriate addition was important for the formation of fine-grained, smooth, and compact deposits. This review demonstrates that the quality of the nickel deposit was strongly affected if the concentration of the inorganic impurity in the nickel bath exceeded the tolerance limit. From this review article, the roles of various organic additives as a brightener, leveler, and antipitting agent, etc. in the Ni plating bath could be established, and these additives would play a significant role in the formation of bright, smooth, and coherent nickel deposits obtained during hydrometallurgical processing of laterite and sulfide ores in the metallurgical industry.