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Preparing acid copper brightener


 

Q. Hi there,

I'm from India and run a metal finishing industry. I would like to know how to prepare an acid copper brightener? If you could tell me the chemical composition and method of preparation I would appreciate it.

Thank you,

Mithun Ashok Soni
- Mumbai, Maharashtra, India


 

A. You may begin by consulting a variety of reference books and reading old and current patent literature. Then you can go to the laboratory and test out each of the formulation components until you arrive at the components needed and the quantities required of each. Or, you could call a supplier of proprietary materials who has already done the above and more and would charge a fair price for the benefit of their research and knowledge by selling a proven material.

You might surmise that I am involved in the sales and/or manufacture of proprietary chemistry and you would be right. Do you tell a chef to give you the recipe, you don't want to eat at his restaurant? Do you ask a doctor for the formulation for a drug? Why do you expect to get proprietary knowledge for free?

Gene Packman
process supplier - Great Neck, New York


thumbs up signHello Gene, you're right that some knowledge is proprietary, and can't be expected for free.

But sometimes people ask, not because they want to steal trade secrets, but they simply don't yet realize what is generic info and what is trade secret. People inexperienced in how this industry works in the western world probably assume that you electroplate things by mixing together basic chemicals like they saw in science class.

Such home-brew is required when a technology loses its champion -- as happened with cyanide zinc plating and magnesium finishing techniques when Dupont & Dow abandoned them; and it's also required in much of the third world where there is no distribution of commercial plating processes.

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


sidebar  

A. The formula is:

42% sulphuric acid
26% Nitric acid
Water

Put carefully sulphuric acid into the water and let it cool down and then fill also carefully the Nitric acid into. The mixture is not directly to use because its to hot. The cooling time its up to 24 hours. You can also put 1% of HF(Hydrofluoric acid) or other oxidizer to accelerate the reaction (very very fast but very dangerous in contact with skin) . The fumes they produce are dangerous and are to avoid. Use of PVC for storage are recommended. This mixture are not usable as a bath because in contact with air losing of its strength will occur.

Hope this helps.

Athanasiadis Stelios
- Thessaloniki, Greece


thumbs up signIt seems there is some confusion here. The original question was for information on acid copper brightener.

The first response was for ADDING metal - that to get an organic additive for a copper PLATING bath you should go to a reputable supplier who has spent the time to develop such additives.

The second response was about making a BRIGHT DIP for copper that will brighten the surface because it REMOVES metal.

I think both responses are correct, depending upon how you interpret the question. That is why we need more carefully phrased questions!

Bill Vins
microwave & cable assemblies
Mesa (what a place-a), Arizona 


(1998)

? A little ambiguity? Are you talking about a brightener additive for an acid copper plating bath or an acid dip to brighten parts made of copper?

Neil Bell
Red Sky Plating


Albuquerque, New Mexico



May 14, 2009

Q. Hi Chaps, I think such an aggressive response is not called for? This guy probably has no idea where to start looking for a brightener (hence MY presence here) or even if such formulations are even sold!
I'm in South Africa, and can't find a supplier for Brighteners, even on the net; I get redirected here?
Now, shipping a drum of brightener to this country can really raise molecular temperatures within the cranium!
Well asked my friend; wish some polite guy would answer and solve a few dilemmas for me, too. I would love to see a bright piece of copper plating come out of the electro plating bath.

Eric Stratford
mineral exploration - Musina South Africa


Modern Electroplating
Lowenheim

May 14, 2009

A. Hi, Eric. I understand. Unfortunately, I and the majority of readers don't know the answers anyway because they are trade secrets, and you won't find current information in text books these days. In some cases, those brighteners can't be created by simple mixing of raw materials; rather they must be "synthesized from precursors", similar to how plastics are made from crude oil -- which rules out "home brew" anyway.

A possible path forward may be to look through old plating books for generic brighteners from "back when". Lowenheim's "Modern Electroplating" from 1942 includes a 2-page discussion of generic brighteners, and it references many different articles on the subject, including many patents, some of which are surely expired by now. (Access to patent info is generally free and reasonably easy these days).

It's not as simple as "try this" though, because each of the referenced possibilities has a list of operating parameters, disadvantages and warnings, etc. Here is an excerpt from that discussion to explain the flavor of it:

11172

Best of luck!

Regards,

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


May 16, 2009

thumbs up signHi Ted,
Thanks for the honest reply, I will try that as a matter of some urgency.
Really enjoy your site and will visit frequently (even if only for being inquisitive by nature).
Cheers

Eric Stratford (returning)
mineral exploration - Musina South Africa


 

A. Have you tried thiourea? Use it sparingly. Be very careful, this thing will give you pancreatic cancer and damage your bones.

Alfonso Hernandez
- Aurora, Colorado


October 1, 2011

A. Urea 1 g/l and glycerin 1-2 ml/l

Majed Janineh
- Beith Lehem, Palestine


October 8, 2014

Q. Dear Majed:
You use Urea 1 g/l and glycerin 1-2 ml/l. May you please tell us how to control their concentration in the bath?
Thank you.

victor delgado
- bogota, colombia



August 4, 2009

Q. Dear All,

Can anybody tell me: What is the role (Chemical reaction) of Brightener in acid copper plating bath?

How does it enable Bright finishing?

Saravana babu
- India


August 11, 2009

A. Hi, Saravanababu. Without brighteners, the copper plating will grow as rather large crystals. These tend to be soft; and porous (because there will be 'holes' where these large crystals grow to meet each other); and dull because of their rough topography.

Brighteners tend to deposit with the electricity, and thus to coat the highest current density areas first and, by so doing, promote the growth of new crystals elsewhere instead. The process leads to more, smaller, harder, less porous crystals, and brighter deposits. Good luck.

Regards,

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



August 1, 2010

Q. Hi Mr. Ted,

How does high temperature make brighteners less effective?

komal kumar
- rudrapur,uttarakhand, India


August 2, 2010

A. Hi, Komal
Sorry, I don't know the exact answer to that, or even if there is a universal answer, because different proprietary brighteners might react differently to temperature. But I do know that some brighteners "oil out" (break down into ineffective oils) at temperatures as low as 100 °F, maybe even lower. Sorry, but I don't know the composition or temperature resistance of the proprietary acid copper brighteners. Good luck.

Regards,

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



September 18, 2013 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. What is the formula of hard copper additive?

Omid Shokri
- Karaj, Hashtgerd, Iran


September 26, 2013

A. Hi Omid,

Usually is some polyalkalyene glycol related chemistries.

Regards,
David


David Shiu
- Singapore


August 24, 2014 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I am conducting some experiments that involve copper plating of non conductors. I have succeeded in plating them but they appear very dull. How do I increase their luster and surface finish?

Rameez Malik
- Rourkela ,Odisha, India


August 2014

A. Hi Rameez. We appended your inquiry to a thread which explains brighteners for acid copper plating. Good luck.

Regards,

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


October 15, 2015

A. Surprised no one mentioned molasses. That's right, blackstrap molasses from the grocery store.

dave wichern
Dave Wichern
Consultant - The Bronx, New York



May 1, 2017

Q. How do molasses work are they in tank or applied post plating and how, etc.?

Brock Mytton
- midhurst sussex uk


May 2017

A. Hi Brock. Molasses is a 'brightener' for copper plating; as such, a small amount is added to the solution in the plating tank. Molecules of the brightener are drawn to the high current density areas of the component being plated and tend to slightly shield it away from further plating. By doing so, the plating is more even in thickness, and more adatoms form, for smaller, less porous, harder plating.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"


May 5, 2017

Q. Delighted for your answer, thank you - is there a go to document on hobby plating, I'm just getting a lot of mush even with low volts and amperage if the thing I bought on eBay is correct (there is only mild fizzing) -- also I'm using copper pipe as anode, and graphite mixed with waterproof PVA for cathode object - is this suitable and/or is there anything else with better conductivity?

Brock Mytton [returning]
- Midhurst sussex uk


May 2017

A. Hi again. A copper pipe is not a great anode, but it may be useable for hobby purposes. Stripped copper wire is a bit better because it's purer and better preserved.

One of your issues is that there are a hundred variables in plating, so when you have questionable anode material, questionable cathode, questionable power supply, questionable chemistry, questionable instructions, are getting "mush" ... and you now want to talk about questionable brighteners ... it's a pretty deep hole to climb out of.

I would start by getting some small pieces of brass sheet, get them spotlessly clean by scrubbing with a pumice solution and toothbrush while wearing gloves, and try to plate them, because brass is the most plateable substrate, whereas we have no idea whether your particular graphite + PVA article is plateable. The way to find out is to successfully plate something else. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"


May 6, 2017

thumbs up sign Thank you again Ted, Yes I thought it could be any of a number of individual or cumulative factors! Going to start afresh , thank you for your advice, best regards Brockie

Brock Mytton [returning]
- midhurst sussex uk

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