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"Copper Plating Matte - Colored Result"

May 6, 2010

Hi, my name is Glenn Sebastian. I recently was asked to take care of my company's copper plating process because the previous engineer was laid off. I have little knowledge regarding electroplating and now the bath has a problem that I do not know how to solve.

1. We are using acid copper bath, with chemicals purchased from Technic inc. (Technic Cu3300).

2. When doing dummy plating, the plating result is awful. That is, there is no shiny/copper color, but instead pinkish-matte color.

3. We tried to add brightener and carrier (very small amount, 15 mL and 5 mL respectively in a 40 L bath). The resulting plating color still looks matte. In a way, it becomes glossy, just like as if there was a layer of transparent liquid on top. But the color is still matte

4. I tried using 267 mL hull cell test, the result is heavy burn/brittle on the HCD areas (>90 ASF) and the rest of the panel is all matte. I can see a sliver of shiny plating on the LCD edge (<1.5 ASF)

5. I checked the H2SO4 content. It seems to be on the higher edge of the recommended range.

6. I checked the Cl- content. It seems to be ok. But then again, I understand that both H2SO4 and Cl- concentrations' effect is not as straightforward.

Could you suggest me with a possible cause for this, please? I would really appreciate your help. Thanks a lot!

Glenn Sebastian
Engineer - Richmond, California

May 7, 2010

Hi, Glenn. If you are new to this responsibility, you may not realize that technical service is an expected benefit of buying proprietary chemicals. Try to find out who you actually buy from (the supplier direct, or a local plating process distributor) and inquire of the firm you place your orders with if you can get a technical service rep to help you out. Also, as a matter of course, the supplier will chemically analyze samples of their solutions.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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