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topic 0302

Cell design for plating silver onto copper pipes

A discussion started in 1996.
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To whom may concern:

Searching in the NET, I got to your WWW page, and I need some help.

I'm looking for a cell design ( for a little laboratory ), cause I need to deposit silver on little copper pipes (1/4"). If possible, you may indicate which kind of anode and cathode to use, and the solutions that I should use, stream density, temperature and time.

I'm looking forward to get an answer, I appreciate any help you could give me, and any comments on that!.

So.. thanks in advance...

Jorge Ramirez
Chemical Engineer - Aguascalientes, MEXICO


Hi, Jorge.

If you only need a very thin silver coating (millionths of an inch) there are wipe-on and immersion silvering solutions for copper which are available to consumers. Please see our on-line article "Silver Plating at Home" for further info and sourcing.

But if you need a thicker coating, I think you would be better off finding an established electroplating shop and having them silver plate your copper tubes for you rather than trying to do it yourself. Unlike the consumer products, real silver electroplating solutions are always cyanide based, which is very hazardous. The anode can be either stainless steel or pure silver, the cathode is the copper pipe you are plating.

Thanks for visiting!

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


I live in Aguascalientes, a little city in the center of Mexico, and I have a respectable lab here; one particular client told me to make him a little special work with copper tubes, cause there is not an established electroplating shop to make it for me!

Well.. thanks anyway...
I just found some days ago, what I was looking for in a 1978 book! And I just made those tubes, too!


Jorge Ramirez
Chemical Engienier - Aguascalientes, MEXICO

I'm glad it worked out well, Jorge. Silver electroplating solutions have not changed in over a hundred years, so your 1978 book was just fine :-)

It is always best to have a plating textbook on hand before starting, and readers looking for such books will find them listed, reviewed, and sourced on our "must-have" book list.


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

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