Request for ideas pertaining to science projects exploring industrial electroplating
I am a ninth grade high school student, and I would like to do a science project in order to explore the uses of industrial electroplating. When I was in the 7th grade, I completed a science project that tested how varying the plating solution affected the plated object. However, now I would like to go more in depth, and test corrosion protection, change in temperature, etc., however I would like an experts opinion on other tests I could perform that pertain to the industrial world of electroplating.
Since each type of plating (meaning corrosion protection, wearability, and decorative) is meant for a different purpose, I was considering plating one type of object with different metals to see if performance in each area differed. But to me it seems like these things would have already been proven. So I would really like your opinion and some suggestions on how to do a project on this topic.
- Upper Marlboro, Maryland, USA
We applaud the success of your 7th grade project, and your ambition. Nonetheless, you may be setting your sights a bit high if you are trying to do, as a freshman project, industrial research that has never been done before :-)
If you want to do some real science as a 9th grader, and something which I'm pretty sure hasn't been done, you might want to calculate the efficiency of electroplating out of the mild salt & vinegar plating solutions that students use in their projects.
Look up and study "Faraday's Law" and you will find that it takes 96,000 ampere-seconds to deposit one gram molecular weight of metal at 100 percent efficiency. Then do a controlled test and determine what fraction of a gram molecular weight you actually deposit. Dividing the actual by the theoretical, you get efficiency. If industrial electroplating, this will generally be in the 50 to 99 percent range (omitting chrome plating which you should NOT try).
My theory is that student plating out of vinegar and salt is only about 20 percent efficient, but that's an absolutely wild guess based solely on how much 'fizzing' I see.
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
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