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topic 10786

Activation of Copper Tungsten


I wanna know, in order to activate copper tungsten (85% copper-15%tungsten) what is the appropriate procedure?

Kenneth Lim Jee Huat
- Ipoh, Malaysia


Cycles for tungsten include anodic cleaning, HCl, HF, chromium strike. Also find ASTM B482 [link by ed. to spec at TechStreet], 'Standard Practice for Preparation of Tungsten and Tungsten Alloys for Electroplating'.

tom pullizzi monitor
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township,


No doubt this is a "Metal Matrix Composite" and not an alloy. Usually formed by sintering Tungsten Powder into a block then pouring molten Copper into the metal matrix under vacuum. Then machined into heat spreaders for high frequency Integrated Circuits like microwave components. What kills the plating here is the black "goo" that oozes out when its heated...leftover sintering binder. Lifts the plating right off. Also you have millions of Cu/W bimetallic galvanic joints all over the surface...and the Tungsten takes on a "tenacious" oxide. Plating this to withstand IC reliability specs requires much, much more than just a standard Tungsten-Copper Alloy pretreatment. These recipes are, however, proprietary. You really need to hire a good consultant if you wish to enter this business.

Dave Kinghorn
Dave Kinghorn
Chemical Engineer
SUNNYvale, California

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