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Nickel vapour deposition is a two stage chemical process in which bulk nickel powder is converted into solid nickel shells or nickel coated powder. In the first stage of the nickel shell process, nickel powder is combined with carbon monoxide to form carbonyl vapour and condensed into liquid nickel carbonyl for interim storage. In the second, deposition stage, the carbonyl liquid is vapourized and introduced into a sealed deposition chamber. The vapour deposits pure (99.9%) nickel onto a heated metal “mandrel” which is then stripped and built into a mold.
Nickel coated powders are produced by heating the powder and nickel carbonyl vapour in a sealed vessel. Nickel deposits onto the powder encapsulating it with a thin coating until the desired weight percent nickel is achieved.
The deposition of nickel occurs atom by atom, producing an exact replica of the mandrel surface. The resulting shell is 99.9% pure nickel with no residual stresses. Tools made using NVD nickel shells offer many flexible design options and critical advantages not available with any other tool-making technology.