Fatigue of Electroformed Nickel

  • H. Jahed
  • M. Noban
Technical Article---Peer-Reviewed


A 2–3 mm nickel mould, manufactured solely by electroforming, showed early cracking under thermal load cycles. Possible causes were attributed to material, design, or service deficiencies. The root cause of early fracture has been investigated thoroughly and is reported here. Monotonic and cyclic properties of electroformed nickel have been obtained at room and elevated temperature. Fatigue mechanisms were identified and compared to pure nickel. Finite element modeling of the mould under thermal cycles enabled the study of material, design, and in-service applications of the mould. It was found that over constraining the mould, while it was in service, caused excessive thermal stresses which accelerated crack initiation and propagation. Remedies to avoid failure are proposed.


Electroformed nickel Thermal cycle Fatigue failure Thermal stress 



The authors acknowledge the help of Dr. S. Winkler with the microstructure studies.


  1. 1.
    Mengel, M.: Lessons in the use of electroformed nickel tools, MoldMaking Technology Online. Accessed May 2009
  2. 2.
    Durney, L.J.: Electroplating Engineering Handbook—Fourth Edition, edited by and published by Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York (1984)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Stein, B.: A practical guide to understanding, measuring and controlling stress in electroformed metals, AESF Electroforming Symposium, Las Vegas, NV, March 27–29, 1996, p. 49. Reprinted at with permission of AESF. Accessed June 2009
  4. 4.
    Lohe, D., Beck, T., Lang, K.H.: Important aspect of cyclic deformation, damage and lifetime behaviour in thermo-mechanical fatigue of engineering alloys. In: Portella, P.D., Sehitoglu, H., Hatanaka, K. (eds.) 5th International Conference on Low Cycle Fatigue, pp. 161–175. DVM, Berlin (2004)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Köberl, H., Winter, G., Riedler, G., Eichlseder, W.: Failure mechanism of pure nickel (Ni 200/201) under thermo-mechanical loading. Key Eng. Mater. 348–349, 793–796 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Coffin, L.F.: A study of the effect of cyclic thermal stresses on ductile metal. Trans. ASME 76, 931–950 (1954)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Edwards, R.: Typical mechanical properties of electroformed nickel, Electroformed Nickel Inc., Huntsville, AL. Accessed June 2009
  8. 8.
    Manson, S.S.: Behavior of materials under conditions of thermal stress. Heat Transfer Symposium, University of Michigan Engineering Research Institute, pp. 9–75 (1953)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    White, F.M.: Heat and Mass Transfer. Addison-Wesley (1988)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Touloukian, Y.S.: Thermophysical Properties of Matter, vols. 12 and 13. IFI Plenum, New York (1971)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    ANSYS, User’s manual, Release 9, ANSYS, Inc. (2008)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Smith, K.N., Watson, P., Topper, T.H.: A stress-strain function for fatigue of metals. J. Mater. 17(2), 169–172, R35–R42 (1981)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ASM International 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering DepartmentUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

Personalised recommendations