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topic 0014

Pulse Plating of Gold

A discussion started in 1995 and continuing through 2014.
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Q. Hi:   I'm a Ph.D student in the chem. eng dept of the university of waterloo , Canada. I am trying to pulse plate gold onto Cu-Be. My gold bath is the typical KAuCN2 (potassium gold cyanide) salts in citrate buffer (i.e., Engelhard E-56 Bath). I am very naive when it comes to pulse plating so please excuse any questions that may seem "stupid".   What are the typical "industrial" parameters for a good deposit for gold pulse-reversal plating. My power supply can only go down to msecs for on and off times. Sometimes I also get "shadows" of random dull and shiny regions. What could be some of the reasons? (Note that I apply a layer of Nickel onto the Cu-Be before gold plating).

I would also like to obtain a copy of AESF's BOOK:   J.C. Puippe and F. Leaman (eds.) "Theory and Practice of Pulse Plating", AESF (1986). I called AESF' publication dept. but they no longer sell any copies. Does anyone know where I can obtain a copy of this book. It seems our libraries in Canada do not have this book. Does anyone have any info on other books about pulse plating specifically gold pulse plating? Thank you

Peter K [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
dept. of Chemical Engineering university of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada


A. Hello, Peter, and thanks for visiting. Used copies of the "Theory and Practice of Pulse Plating" [link is to product info at Amazon] are sometimes available from Amazon by clicking on the hot linked book title above. Reid and Goldie's "Gold Plating Technology" covers pulse plating at least a little bit.

I'm not sure that there are 'industrial' parameters for pulse plating; I don't recall ever seeing an article in a trade journal which presented pulse parameters for actual mass-production industrial applications.

I've heard one very knowledgeable researcher claim that the principal thing that pulse plating does is provide agitation to minimize the thickness of the boundary layer, thereby helping to make more ions available for deposition; and that, consequently, over concern about ramp rates & durations can be focusing on distinctions without a difference.

There were many articles on pulse plating published 5 to 10 years ago, and there was an annual pulse plating symposium, but I just don't see as much apparent journal interest today. I'm not saying less is done (probably more is done especially in printed circuit work), but it doesn't seem to be as hot a topic in current journals.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. I am with Ted on this one. I did work with PR and pulsed current for gold plating at GTE. I never was able to achieve the desired results. I assume you want a more dense deposit. If you are looking for brightness you might want to use a non cyanide gold stripper (jewelry term for brightening) as the Jewelry industry for electroformed gold jewelry.

gwynne edson
Gwynne I Edson
- Huntington Beach, California

sidebar January 20, 2010

Dear Peter K,
My name is Roozbeh. I am a student of materials science and engineering at Sharif University of technology (the best university in Iran), Iran. My Msc project is as same as yours. I am working on Gold Pulse Plating under the supervisor of Dr.Dolati; one of the best professor in the field of gold Plating. I have the book you mention. So please feel free to communicate. I hope we can share our data and experience about Gold pulse plating to improve our projects.

Hope to hear from you..

Roozbeh Siavash
Msc Student of Materials Science and Engineering - Tehran, Iran

Ed. note: Hi, Roozbeh. Sorry, but Peter K. probably completed his work 15 years ago :-)
This site for PUBLIC communications, and hopefully someone who is currently working on this or worked on it will join you in conversation, so please post any questions or any of your findings. Thanks!

January 26, 2010

Dear Editor,
As you mentioned Mr. Peter K probably have finished his works years ago, so I think he can now really help me on my own Msc project (Hard Gold Pulse Plating). Hence it's so helpful for me to connect to Mr. Peter. It's so important for me to find a person or a way to handle my project in a right way because my Msc project is an industrial project in addition to scientific form. So please help me to find a way (his email or phone no.) to connect with Mr. Peter. K.
Thank you so much.

Roozbeh Siavash
- Tehran, Iran

Ed. note: Hi, again cousin Roozbeh …
Most people don't want their contact info retained for a decade and a half under circumstances like this, and 99+ percent of email addresses from 15 years ago don't work anyway.

I appreciate your problem, and sympathize with it -- but this site is for public interaction, education and reference; we specifically discourage private contact because it disenfranchises the other readers, cutting them adrift from conversations they were following; plus it is a disservice to supporting advertisers, and consumes limited available time in private matchmaking instead of public efforts. Please try to think of a way you can post something about your project in a way that the readers can be helpful to you, rather than insisting upon using the site in a way that is contrary to what the posters, the other readers, the editors, and the supporting advertisers who make it possible, want :-)

Commercial matchmaking services for theses exist, and there are many popular sites like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc., for private contact; maybe you can find a pulse plating friend there. But please at least try for public help here. Thanks, and best of luck.



Q. Dear sir,

We do reel-to-reel/ strip gold plating for a few connector parts. Is it advisable to use a pulse rectifier in this application?

Connector parts manufacturer - Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA


A. Hello D. If all the other plating parameters are thoroughly understood and under control … then, yes, pulse plating can certainly improve the deposit. But taming all of the variables is not easy, and if the other parameters are not yet fully understood and controlled then pulse plating is yet another dangerous loose cannon :-)

It works, but it's fine tuning.

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. There's some studies on hard gold pulse plating for connector parts with a pulse period of 0.01 to 0.1 sec and a duty cycle of 1 to 10% which show improvement to certain extent on compressive stress of gold deposit due to increase in gold crystalline size.

David Shiu
David Shiu
- Singapore

Pulse plating of gold for jewelry

December 28, 2014

Q. I'm thinking about pulse plating gold for jewelry, I know nothing about this but a friend has a unit that pulse plates; he uses it for one thing only. He knows nothing about pulse plating in gold. Can anyone out there give me an idea as to where to start on the on time and off time (I noticed the off time is longer than the on time)? If yes can you explain this to me. What I really need is a pulse plating book for dummies

vic masciarelli
- Northboro, Massachusetts

December 2014

A. Hi Vic. I'm not sure what you are referring to when you say "I know nothing about this". If you mean you are unfamiliar with pulse plating, but you are experienced in gold plating of jewelry, then David's response may be be what you are looking for.

If you mean you are unfamiliar with plating in general, then the right answer is probably 100% on-time / 0% off-time because introducing pulse plating to a process which is not under control and well understood will do nothing but make it worse. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

December 28, 2014

Q. Is there a book for dummies on pulse plating or a place where I can take a course on how to do it for gold plating and electroforming gold? I have gold plated using the normal rectifier, now I would like to learn how to do this with pulse plating gold jewelry.

What I am looking for is some parameters where I can start at to pulse plate a 14,18, karat gold and also to electroform 14 kt and 18 kt gold. For parameters I am asking for some starting points in milliseconds on and off and also amperage I would use per square inch when i try to electroform gold. Any help would greatly be appreciated. Also any info on anybody's solutions that they sell for these purposes.


vic masciarelli [returning]
- Northboro, Massachusetts, USA

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