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topic 17207

Aluminum plating solution


Q. Hi I am trying to electroplate aluminum metal into the pores of alumina. Can I get a ready-made aluminum plating solution?

Phaneendra Medida
Drexel University - Philadelphia ,PA,USA


A. Hi Phaneendra. Aluminum is too active a metal to electroplate in the conventional sense (out of an aqueous plating bath), so no such solutions are available.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


Q. If you could please explain what you mean by aluminum being too active of a metal for conventional plating methods I would appreciate it.

Thank You

Bobby Lineberry
- Elizabeth City North Carolina USA


Metals range from very noble (wanting to come out of solution / stay out of solution / stay metallic), like gold and platinum, to very active (wanting to remain in solution, combined with other materials), like sodium.

When a highly active metal is dissolved in a water-based (aqueous) solution and you try to electroplate it out, all that will happen is the water will separate into hydrogen and oxygen (or hydroxide). You'll reduce hydrogen from H+ to H (actually H2, hydrogen gas) before you will be able to reduce Al++ to aluminum (metal).

It is possible to electroplate aluminum out of molten salts, and organic solutions in an oxygen-free environment, but that doesn't sound like an answer to Phaneedra's situation.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

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