Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hot Copper Plating

Electroplating usually use to cover some metal with many purposes. The kind that may plate over it such as chromium, copper, gold, silver, nickel or zinc. The useful of electroplating can use for decorative or to protect metal beneath it.

The safety equipment should be use when work on electroplating workshop such as goggle glass, rubber hand glove, and respiratory filter. Wash hand with soap after work is mandatory procedure.

To work copper electroplating for example small car part that need to recover with copper, can do as follows:

  1. Clean part and copper electrode by rubbing with fine steel wool. Wash the key and copper electrode with a detergent solution and rinse both with tap water.
  2. Attach a 5-cm length of 20 - 22 bare copper wire to your part. The wire use as a "handle" to remove the key from the cleaning solutions.
  3. Soak the key and copper electrode for a few minutes in 30 ml of 3 M sodium hydroxide solution, NaOH. Remove with tweezers and rinse in distilled water.
  4. Soak the key and copper electrode for a few minutes in 30 mL of 3 M sulfuric acid, H2SO4. Remove with tweezers and rinse with distilled water. This procedure to treat a key before plating. Place a 1 cm x 10 cm copper strip into a 250 mL beaker glass.
  5. Support the key in the solution by wrapping the copper wire around a small glass rod. Rest the rod on top of the beaker.
  6. Hook up the variable DC power supply. The key should be wired directly to the negative (black terminal) electrode. The copper electrode should be wired to the positive (red terminal) electrode through the ammeter.
  7. Turn on the power supply and adjust the current to 0.25 A. Allow the current to flow for about five minutes.
  8. Turn off the power supply. Remove the key and copper strip.
  9. Rinse with distilled water and blot dry with a paper towel.