plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
I understand that a brightener can be used when electroplating copper on silver plate. Is there a easy to obtain source of a brightener?Clarence F. [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Joshua High School - Fort Worth, Texas
Hi Clarence. The brighteners used in industry are usually carefully synthesized for ideal properties, and are proprietary trade secrets. But for high school you could probably try ethylene glycol (automotive anti-freeze), sugar or licorice. Elementary school students should probably restrict it to the latter two, and other food products like molasses, honey, etc.
The idea behind brighteners is that they are attracted by the electricity to the item that you are trying to plate. To some limited extent they thereby impede further current flow to that area, helping to steer the current to other areas, which means more and smaller crystals instead of fewer and larger ones. Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
January 1, 2013
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