plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
Electroplating steel components with copper
November 21, 2008
We are making components out of mild steel.We want to coat these components with copper.We've tried dipping them in copper sulfate solution and they are becoming coated but after a few minutes they tarnish. How could I prevent this from happening. I need urgent reply please.Muhammad Awais
- Lahore, Pakistan
November 24, 2008
Hi, Muhammad. We introduce the general concept of electroplating, and a copper plating experiment for school children, in our FAQ:
"How Electroplating Works". But electroplating is an industrial science, and the textbooks fill entire aisles in technical libraries. So it is exceptionally difficult to try to explain how to successfully and reliably do industrial electroplating of components beyond recommending some "Must-Have" books.
But, unfortunately, you are starting out wrong. You cannot successfully electroplate copper onto steel from a copper sulphate solution. Please see if there is an electroplating shop in Lahore that you can contract this work to. If you don't want to do that, and wish to do the work in house, please see if you can locate a plating process distributor and talk to them about a proprietary copper pyrophosphate electroplating bath. You will need to electroclean and then acid activate your parts before electroplating. Good luck.
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey