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topic 10872

Copper electroplating hydrogen gassing


Background: My circuit board prototype copper electroplating system uses standard electroplating solution. I plate at 10 to 20 Amps/ft*ft, and at room temperature. Our aggitation is an air sparging system.

Questions: How much hydrogen gassing are we likely to have occur? What types of air pollution should I be concerned with?

Ben Harbin
- Atlanta, GA, USA


Copper plates at about 100% efficiency; you don't evolve H2. Your main concern is acid mists due to the air agitation; as a minimum you need a fume hood with a mist eliminator.

James Totter
James Totter, CEF
- Tallahassee, Florida



Not being a plater nor a mind reader, I haven't a clue what acid/alkali you are using and at what temperature nor even of the tank size.

You must give more info if you want a reasonable answer.

I'd guess that any fuming would accelerate due to the sparging. Of course you get Hydrogen (mini bubbles)zooming upwards, that's par for the course, but far less than the sparge air.

Were you to need a scrubber, I'd guess that a real simple and inexpensive design would work OK ... my thoughts always turn to well made/designed mist eliminator type scrubbers which are good for l2 micron capture @ full efficiency.

Your main thoughts just now should surely be a simple hood design to capture these fumes (if they are of consequence) but that entails ducting = a fan = a stack = getting EPA or local planning/building council permission. And if you go to the burocrats, they'll cost you quite a few $ as they will want the best but not something that is necessarily the best for you.


freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to
advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).

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