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Removal of silver plating from scrap copper

Q. I have about 3.5 pounds of silver plated copper bars that were removed from an old circuit breaker/power distribution box. Most of the parts are slightly tarnished and are dark in color. What I am looking to do is to remove the silver plating from the bars so that it can be melted and sold.

Do I need to go through any surface prep of the bars before removal of the silver? If so, what is an efficient way to perform this on a large number of individual pieces, probably 200+ pieces?

Is the easiest way to remove the silver going to be similar to electroplating? I would like for the silver that is deposited to be easy to remove from the cathode. Also what voltage and amperage combination would be ideal for doing this?

I've also gotten about 1.5 pounds of loose silver contacts that I would like to do this same thing to, if it's worthwhile.

Adam Travis Radzisauskas
Student - Sandston, Virginia

A. Adam,
it seems like you have about $5 worth of copper with maybe $.50 worth of silver plating on it. I don't think you can buy and properly dispose of the stripping solution for anywhere near the value of the scrap. But I may be missing something.

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

Q. I have large amounts of silver/Silver plated components from the Chlorine industry.
How can I strip the silver from the copper/bronze substrate,or from the mixed copper silver scrap.

Adrian T.G.Stubbings
- Larnaca, Cyprus, Europe

Q. I am able to source a large amount of silver plated cutlery and other items. I would like to remove plating / repair said items or replate as a hobby. can you help?

Martin Toonen
- Newcastle, N.S.W., Australia

Q. I wish to remove silver plating from a large quantity of small items made of copper or bronze and recover the silver.
This is a hobby not professional.

Adrian T.G.Stubbings
- Larnaca, Cyprus

Q. I am also interested in information on how to remove Silver plating from a large amount of Silver plated Copper Buss Bar. I have roughly two tons of buss bar, and I'm told that it has roughly 0.75 oz. of silver per square foot, of surface area. Are there several techniques? I have access to a laboratory. Thanks for any help.

Bob Haun
- Gurnee, Illinois
May 20, 2009

May 20, 2009

Hi, folks.
letter 7022 describes an electrochemical stripping method.
letter 43265 describes a melting method and a chemical method. letter 25979 offers some operational parameters.

Please remember that the internet is a one-room schoolhouse with post doctorate chemical engineers and 3rd-grade schoolchildren reading the same pages. Please don't attempt any of this unless you have the proper protective gear, have received hands-on hazmat training, and are sure of exactly what you are doing.

Luck and Regards,

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

Q. Can the torch method be used to remove Gold Plate from Silver? Or is there a better way - I have about 4 ounces of gold plated silver. Thanks

Dave Barrett
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
June 6, 2012

Q. I have some dental racks that have fixer on them. I was told it's a silver based. I need something to remove the silver finish off the rubber and plastic parts. Any ideas?

Michael W Myers
dental - Jacksonville, Arkansas usa
February 10, 2018

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