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Electroplating a key


In electroplating a key using copper, why is the key used as cathode and the copper plate used as anode?
I am in grade 10.

Sherry L [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
student - Guyana


Hi, Sherry.

It's because if the key were used as the anode and the copper plate as the cathode, the key would dissolve while the copper plate would get plated :-)

The anode is the positive electrode. As electrons are removed from the anode and pumped through the external wiring over to the cathode, the copper is left short of electrons, i.e., oxidized to valence state +2. In this form copper is ionic, the copper dissolves into solution. These positively charged ions are attracted to the cathode (the negative pole). At the cathode, the electrons have become available to reduce the copper ions back to to metallic state. Good luck.


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

July 7, 2010

how do you electroplate a key

Gem O'sully
- victoria, Australia

July 8, 2010

Hi, Gem. If you are talking about electroplating a key as a science project, like Sherry was, our "How Electroplating Works" FAQ will show you, and help you do it yourself.

If you are talking in more practical terms, you'll may want to send the key to a plating shop as it's not easy to do real, durable, bright, functional, attractive, highly adherent and wear-resistant electroplating. Please clarify your situation. Thanks.


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

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