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topic 3841

Aluminum Electroplating


I am looking for suggestions on methods of electroplating an aluminum layer on a sintered iron based alloy. I am attempting to employ a barrel based method for high volume plating of aluminum, hence the need for an 'open type' system (not fully closed). My experimentation has yielded extensive pitting problems to date due to hydrogen formation, even with a non aqueous based solution.

I am not seeking a complete answer (but would accept one), only some guidelines of which direction I should further concentrate my efforts.

Russell Scudder


I suggest you look into Ion Vapor Deposition of aluminum. The process is used extensively in high volume applications for the U.S. military. You can probably find a shop near you to do the work. If you want to keep it in-house, there are a couple of companies that will make you a system.

jim treglio portrait
Jim Treglio
PVD Consultant - San Diego, California

February 29, 2009

Hi, Russell. Aluminum is too active a metal to electroplate out of an aqueous bath. All of the electricity you apply will merely liberate hydrogen and none of it will go towards depositing aluminum.

It is possible to electroplate aluminum from a sealed air-free organic electrolyte but it is a patented process.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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