Copper Plating: Part #1

Copper Plating: Part #1

I’ve never used a copper stick in one of my experiments, I found out that I’m good at plating, which is what we’re going to be doing in this post. You probably wondering why my copper is a green, it’s because of chemical reactions with the elements. Just as iron that is left unprotected in the open air will corrode and form a flaky orange-red outer layer.

First, warm up some distilled water, which is what I’m doing above. Heated up until about 45°C. Don’t go too hot with the water because it’ll accelerate the plating and form crystals, which is what we don’t want.

To be honest, I’m not actually following any instructions though, so I’m not sure if this is going to work.

Mix the distilled water with scoops of copper sulphate, I don’t know how much to put in there, so I put about… 100 grams I guess.

What I’m going to be plating is this iron nail. I connect the nail to (-) and the copper to (+). What’s happening now is simple: the copper ions (+) is charging to the metal. Copper (which are positively charged) are attracted to the negatively charged iron electrode and slowly deposit on it—producing a thin layer of copper plate. The electrolyte just helps ions to move around.

I shook the nail around because the copper will only go to one side.

Now the nail is all covered in copper but…..

The copper is falling off, easily…

I tried with a stick that metal and some aluminum mixed in it. But it still falls off.

The common problem is the electrolyte, as said above it accelerates the plating and makes crystals, but the water is about 35°C. Or the other problem is too much copper sulfate…

Can you tell me what the problem is? If you know, comment down below↓

7 Replies to “Copper Plating: Part #1”

  1. I can’t wait to see if you figure it out and what the answer is!

  2. I think there are many variables here and all you can do is – Experiment! 🙂
    Good luck 🙂

  3. Thanks for commenting! I feel like my copper is a little… well, worn out, so I’m going to change it on my second attempt. I feel like my electric current is too strong. The minimum is 3V, and I use 9V. But I heard some people said that the stronger the current is the better. I’ll try to do better on my second attempt 🙂

  4. This is a cool experiment and it does work – just doesn’t stick.
    I’m not sure how to get the plating better? Perhaps everything needs to be more pure? eg your iron nail and your copper plate may not be 100% pure?
    In industrial electroplating I assume they’d use a more powerful current too.
    Well this is Science for you – lots of experimenting and Sometimes it goes just as expected – but most often not!

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