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What metal would be best for electroplating with copper?

I am a in 9th grade and I am doing a project for school that involves electroplating some metal with copper. I have Copper (II) sulphate solution and copper metal. What metal would be best for electroplating with the copper?

Josh F.
student - Denver, CO, US
March 15, 2008

Copper plate shiny quarters or dimes, Josh, after cleaning them well. They will work very well.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
March 15, 2008

March 28, 2008

Hi, I'm a grade 11 student and I had to do a chemistry project so I chose electroplating because I was interested in it from before. since this is a project I had to get a question and a hypothesis... so my question was what is the best object to electroplate.
since most people use copper as an example, it was obviously the best object but I got to prove that which shouldn't be hard. but what got me confused is the solution people used, it was hard to find since electroplating is used for business but for example in this website's FAQ it had vinegar [in bulk on eBay or Amazon affil links] and "100g/l of dissolved zinc" (zinc being the anode). That second part kinda got me confused and I watched a video where they had "30g stannous sulphate 15L sulfuric acid" so if someone would explain that I would really appreciate it^.^ and my other question is, would it be ok to use any substance (other than non metals) as the cathode?
thank you

Abdulla B.
Student - Kuwait

The cathode is the object that you are plating onto, and the anode is the other electrode in the solution, Abdulla. Both must be conductive. To plate a non-conductive object like plastic you must first metallize the object.

The metal that is dissolved into the solution is the metal that will plate out; so stannous sulphate is used for tin plating, and dissolved zinc is used for zinc plating.

I think you need a clearer understanding of the word "hypothesis" though, and I have the feeling that when your teacher said you should have a question, I think s/he really meant a question related to the hypothesis. But I think hypotheses should not be of a nature like "I can electroplate copper with zinc" or "The best objects to plate are made of copper". I think they should claim some sort of scientific principle you can demonstrate or refute rather than be a statement about your skills or the capacity of certain techniques. To me, better hypotheses would be like: "The plating speed will increase if I raise the temperature" or "The plating speed will double if I double the voltage" or "no plating will occur if the cathode is not conductive".

Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
April 7, 2008

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