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topic 4136

Chemistry project in electroplating


I am a sixteen-year-old senior high school student in the Philippines. My friends and I are assigned a project about electroplating. Nothing really difficult, just a simple setup would do. Your site [FAQ: "How Electroplating Works"] helped a lot.

I would just like to ask where we could buy the zinc strip and what are Epsom salts and where to buy them.

Thank you for your time.

Respectfully yours,

Ailil A [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Manila, Philippines

Zinc Anodes

Epsom Salts


Hi, Ailil. A source of zinc is standard dry cell batteries. The whole case or skin of a standard flashlight or lantern battery is zinc. Have your science teacher confirm that the batteries you find are standard carbon-zinc batteries, not alkaline or nickel-cadmium, and help you clean out and dispose of the carbon rod and black glop. Alternately, if you have access to a boating store, they will have zinc anodes in various shapes and sizes. You may be able to hacksaw those anodes to provide enough zinc for your fellow students.

Epsom salt is sold in drugstores as bath salts; I believe it is magnesium sulphate. Table salt will work, we just recommend epsom salt so there is no chance of chlorine gas if students start doing stupid things :-) Good luck.

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


More Info. on Epsom Salts:

Epsom salts (also called bitter salts), hydrated magnesium sulfate with cathartic properties; white or colorless crystalline salts; used as an osmotic laxative in cases where bowel evacuation is desired; paste can be used as an application to assist drainage of boils; occurs naturally as the mineral epsomite; large source of medicinal magnesium sulfate were mineral springs at Epsom, Surrey, England


Kwok-wai Chook

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