plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
Electrolytically recovering Scrap Copper
February 20, 2010
Dear All readers
My question is:
Can I electrolytic scrap copper directly by press scrap copper to become anode and put in CuSO4 solution for electrolytic? At cathode can I receive 99,99% Cu?
Any problem with it?
I think this is the best way to treat scrap copper
Anyone knows how to or any experience please comment
Scrap - Garden Grove California USA
February , 2010
Hi, Trang. For this to work would require that any other metals in the scrap not plate out to a total of even .01 %. I'd call it possible but not easy. Fortunately, it is very easy to try it on a small scale to see how it goes.
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
February 25, 2010
This is a very common process both for the production of virgin copper and for recovery. Just do a search on "Electrowinning copper"
I used to run a plant for recovery of metals from electronics scrap. Burn off the plastics and melt the metals to form impure copper anodes. Plate the copper out in an acid sulphate bath onto pure copper sheet. Actually the copper was a by-product because the 'anode slimes' produced contained all the precious metals that we were primarily recovering. The purity of the copper was quite acceptable to the smelter.
Because of all the impurities, the cathode efficiency is low and I covered the bath in about 1cm of mineral oil to suppress all the hydrogen given off (plating adhesion was not required)
Incidentally, the plant ran 24/7 unattended .......and one night burned out so don't forget the smoke detectors!