What is Electroplating: Definition and 33 Discussions

Electroplating is a general name for processes that create a metal coating on a solid substrate through the reduction of cations of that metal by means of a direct electric current. The part to be coated acts as the cathode (negative electrode) of an electrolytic cell; the electrolyte is a solution of a salt of the metal to be coated; and the anode (positive electrode) is usually either a block of that metal, or of some inert conductive material. The current is provided by an external power supply.
Electroplating is widely used in industry and decorative arts to improve the surface qualities of objects—such as resistance to abrasion and corrosion, lubricity, reflectivity, electrical conductivity, or appearance. It may also be used to build up thickness on undersized or worn-out parts, or to manufacture metal plates with complex shape, a process called electroforming. It is also used to purify metals such as copper.
The term "electroplating" may also be used occasionally for processes that use an electric current to achieve oxidation of anions on to a solid substrate, as in the formation of silver chloride on silver wire to make silver/silver-chloride electrodes.
Electropolishing, a process that uses an electric current to remove metal cations from the surface of a metal object, may be thought of as the opposite of electroplating.

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  1. D

    Electrochemistry and cell electroplating

    Hello, I have a question in regards to electroplating. If i have a cell with let's say a zinc cathode and an inert anode in a solution of copper ions, and I turn on the current, what reaction will counter the reduction of copper ions to balance the electronegativity and what will be the...
  2. A

    Electroplating of platinum/palladium etc on copper, brass question

    I am not sure where to put this but anyways, maybe someone here has had the experience and can tell me more about what important things would be necessary to do this. I am looking forward to making some electrical contacts that will have to survive a mercury environment in a sealed inert...
  3. S

    Hard chrome electroplating titanium

    Hello. I want to coat titanium metal, more preciselly grade 5 alloy with thick titanium coating. Can coating be done using electroplating method with chrome salt? I guess titanium surface will have to be somehow well prepared, removed from oxides so that chrome won't just peel off from titanium.
  4. C

    Creating Amorphous Metal: The Possibility of Electroplating and Rapid Cooling

    Hello, I've been thinking about if amorphous metal (aka metallic glass) could created by using regular electroplating or if it has to be created by rapid cooling of the metal after molten. There is a method which a thin layer of metal powder is applied to a flat surface where a laser beam melts...
  5. Spacey

    Electroplating - radioactive materials in my drawer?

    Hello! I'm a high school science teacher who was recently switched to teaching physics for the first time mid-year. I remember doing an electroplating demonstration in my gradeschool days for a science fair. It was fascinating and now I want to give my students a chance to do some hands-on...
  6. S

    Electroplating Cu on Cu sputtered Si Substrate (Lithography)

    I have been trying to plate Copper on Copper sputtered Electronic grade Silicon Substrate which has been patterned and developed using UV photolithography. The patterns measure about 50-100microns in width and are about 1600microns long. I have tried plating 10micrometer thick Cu using a stock...
  7. T

    Copper Electroplating, cell voltage = 0V?

    Hello everybody, this is probably a very novice question, but imagine anode and cathode, both made from copper immersed in CuSO4 aqueous solution (1M at standard temp and pressure + assuming electrodes are very near each other -> minimizing diffusion/migration resistance) and: Cu(2+) + 2e- ->...
  8. S

    How can I plate Cu at very low currents

    Hello, I have a silicon wafer with a 50nm layer of copper sputtered on it. I coated it with a 1µm of positive photo resist and patterned it with a UV laser stepper. Then I developed it and washed it thoroughly. The pattern has a surface area which measures appx 1300µm x 8µm. What I want to do...
  9. L

    Electroplating with mixed metal electrodes?

    Hello. I need to nickel plate an item, but there are no sources of pure nickel in my immediate area other than guitar strings. I picked up a set, which was labeled as pure nickel, but it was obvious upon inspection that only the wound strings had nickel, and that was only the woven outer layer...
  10. S

    V required for electroplating Cu on Fe

    For a school project, I need to electroplate copper on an iron nail with copper sulphate solution. How much voltage electricity will I need for this experiment?
  11. L

    Understanding Electroplating: Cu and Fe Ion Movement Explanation

    In a Cu and Fe electroplaying process, why does the positively charged ions move from Cu to Fe instead of the other way round?
  12. Conservation

    Electroplating copper on top of anodized aluminum

    Hi all, I'm looking to electroplate a copper layer on top of anodized aluminum. Type II (sulfuric acid) was used to anodize the aluminum, and everything looks pretty good so far. However, I saw somewhere on the internet that one can electroplate a copper layer on top of anodized aluminum; how...
  13. M

    Electroplating Fume Suction System Design

    I've recently been put in- charge of reviving a Fume Suction System installed at the electroplating section of factory. After my stint in the army my engineering skills leave a lot to be desired, even though i am a Mechanical Engineer (by education not profession) so it is my request to PFers to...
  14. J

    Electroplating from tungsten via phosphate salt?

    At the bottom of page 54 of Tungsten: Properties, Chemistry, Technology of the Elements, Alloys, and Chemical Compounds by Lassner and Schubert: I'm presuming the reaction goes something like 2H_{3}PO_{4} + 2W → 3H_{2} + 2WPO_{4} Since I'm pretty sure copper phosphate works just fine for...
  15. C

    Electroplating, anode and cathode help.

    I'm just having trouble understanding, I get the gist of it though. This is what I know in a electrolytic cell (I may be wrong): The cathode is negative, anode is positive and the current travels from the cathode to anode right? So during electroplating, the anode is the electrode being...
  16. F

    How does electroplating work at the atomic scale?

    Hi, I am trying to understand how electroplating works. With help of this wikipedia diagramm (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b6/Copper_electroplating.svg/471px-Copper_electroplating.svg.png) I have already figured out (correct me if I am wrong) that it works something...
  17. F

    Electroplating apparatus gets very warm

    I have a 12V 10A power supply connected to the copper electrodes used for making copper sulfate. After about 5 minutes, the mixture gets warm. An ammeter connected in series only shows about .2A of current being drawn so I suspect that it is the huge restiveness of the acid,water mixture...
  18. R

    Why is the silver anode preferentially discharged in electroplating?

    I am quite confusing about the concept of electroplating of silver. As what I know, the silver anode gives out Ag+ while the Ag+ in the silver nitrate solution deposits on the cathode (e.g. a spoon). However, why the Ag(s) on the silver anode is preferentially discharged instead of the OH-...
  19. S

    Electrolysis and electroplating electrolytes and oxidation states

    When electrplating copper with a dilute NaCl aqueous solution and the anode is iron while cathode is platinum what will the results be? Will copper form cations or will the OH- be oxidised? Also, if we use concentrated NaCl will there be any difference? I'm thinking that the copper shouldn't be...
  20. L

    Electroplating Zinc onto Copper: Calculating Time Needed

    Wow. Can anyone please tell me how to approach this problem? For a science experiment you need to electroplate zinc onto both sides of a very thin, 1.00 1.00 copper sheet. You want the zinc thickness to be 140 , and you know that the charge carriers in the ionic solution are divalent...
  21. P

    Relationship between Electroplating and Kinetic Theory

    Homework Statement I have this assignment from my chemistry teacher and it asks to relate electroplating with the kinetic theory? I don't really understand how the kinetic theory has anything to do with redox, or other chemistry applications. Homework Equations The Attempt at a...
  22. D

    Electroplating Experiment: Calculating Copper Mass from Silver Deposition

    Homework Statement Exactly 21.6 g of silver is deposited during an electroplating experiment. The same amount of electricity is passed through 1.00 L of a 1.00 mol/L CuSO4(aq) solution. What mass of copper is deposited? Relative atomic masses: Ag 107.87; Cu 63.55 Homework Equations...
  23. S

    Why is sulphuric acid added to copper sulfate solution for electroplating?

    Electroplated a 5 micron layer of copper a few days ago. Was wondering why there's sulphuric acid in the solution.
  24. M

    Electroplating using Barium metal

    I saw an exam question that ask the students to explain the process of electoplate barium onto a piece of copper rod Can some body help me to explain why is it not possible?
  25. S

    Can Silver be Electroplated with Silver Cyanide in a Nitric Acid Solution?

    Hello, I want to electroplate silver stuff with more silver to remove the tarnish, its mainly an experiment I want to do because its always easier with Twinkle tarnish remover. It's possible to do this with Silver Cyanide in a nitric acid solution? If yes, what should be the pH? Or should I...
  26. A

    Help with electroplating please

    help with electroplating please! :) I have a copper penny attached to the negative terminal of a 9V battery. I have a nickel (made of the metal nickel) attached to the positive terminal. I put this circuit in water. After 20 minutes, I notice that the nickel has orange deposits on it which I...
  27. H

    Electroplating with Copper: Correct Reaction at Negative Electrode?

    Question is: "A metallic object is electroplated with copper using a solution of copper(II) sulfate. Which statementis correct?" A. The positive electrode increases in mass. B. The concentration of Cu2+ ions in the solution decreases. C. Reduction occurs at the positive electrode. D. The...
  28. M

    Is Electroplating Possible with Zinc Chloride Acid?

    Hi! Dunno if this is the right place to ask but here goes: One of these electrodes have a 'white layer' on it. My questions are, could this be "electroplating"? And could zink-chlorid acid do this? I hope somebody knows, it means a lot to me, thx...
  29. S

    How does electroplating of Cu and Zn work?

    Electroplating of Cu and Zn, from their sulphate solutions using one of them as electrodes,along with some inert electrode as anode.Plating of one is possible but not the other.Explain me in detail.
  30. M

    Electroplating Brass: A Mystery Unveiled

    The other day I was at the store looking at some metal wall plates for light switches, they had all sorts of different types, Copper, Nickel, Stainless Steel, Chrome, …and “Brass plated stamped steel”. How can it be possible to electroplate Brass onto something? I understand how you can...
  31. M

    What Happens if CuSO4 is Added Before Connecting the Power in Electroplating?

    I have a question about electroplating a metal object with copper. Since CuSO4 is normally poured in after the power source is connected, what might happen if it is poured in before? Would there be some sort of short-circuit happening or would it just cause the whole experiment to fail?
  32. S

    How Much Gold Can Be Plated Using the Current That Plated 4.97g of Silver?

    I can get the charge for the silver, 8892 C, but it seems I'm missing something to get the current. Current = Charge/Time. I only have the charge. All 2 examples in my text have the amount of time included in the question along with either the amount of grams (solving for the current)...