What is the difference between Nickel and Copper?
This article explains the difference between copper and nickel-plated EK products.
The Difference Between Copper and Nickel
All water block cooling heads are made of bare electrolytic copper rods. These rods are milled using a precision-guided CNC machine to make a bare copper water block (cooling head) base.
Nickel electroplating, on the other hand, is a technique of electroplating a thin layer of nickel onto a metal object. If a water block is nickel-plated, it means that the bare copper base (once the milling process is done) is coated with a fine thin layer of nickel using a submersion bath.
The nickel layer is decorative and can provide corrosion and wear resistance.
It is important to note that a so-called 'Nickel Water Block' is still a pure copper water block but has been plated with a layer of nickel.
Is There a Difference in Performance Between Nickel and Copper Water Blocks?
Performance-wise the nickel-plated water block is identical to non-plated (bare) copper water blocks.
"Performance wise the nickel plated water block is identical in performance to non-plate (bare) copper water block."
How is that possible, when the thermal conductivity value for Copper is 4 times the value of Nickel ??
Yeah... about that, a thickness of about 0.3 MICROmeters (or so i suspect that's the thickness ek uses) won't make any difference worth even mentioning.
Electroplating is such a thin amount of material around the bulk material that it has a statistically insignificant affect on it's thermal conductivity. In fact one could argue that nickel plating is actually superior as the copper oxide layer that can form looks terrible and has more of an impact on the cooling than the nickel plating which stays shiny throughout its useful life time.
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