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"What is bipolar effect and its significance in electroplating?"

Current question:

December 3, 2021

We are using Cyanide Silver plating in barrel application. Pure Silver bars are used in Titanium baskets as anodes. Anode baskets are covered by PP bags.

We have found Silver deposit at the bottom of the anode baskets inside and continue to plate during production.


The anode and cathode connections are verified and found okay.

Also did not find any fallen parts at the bottom which makes the short of anode with cathode or at the close vicinity.

Please suggest what could be the reasons and how to control the anodes getting electrodeposition of Silver.

KMM Abubacker
employee in electroplating company - Bangalore, India

December 2021

A. Hi KMM. You may have more information than I can gather from the photo, but I don't see a reason to assume that this is an electrodeposit. Small metal fines will often fall to the bottom of an anode basket as the anodes dissolve, and silver can probably also mechanically rub off from the anodes onto the titanium surface.

As long as you have anode bags to contain those fines I don't think there is a problem.

Luck & Regards,

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

December 3, 2021

A. Titanium anode baskets ANODiZE (read insulate) in an alkaline solution, so there is no current in the bottom of the basket, the top is still barely bare and passes some current, as Ted says, the fines have fallen into the bottom of the, now insulated, bottom of the titanium basket.

robert probert
Robert H Probert
Robert H Probert Technical Services
supporting advertiser
Garner, North Carolina

Closely related Q&A's, oldest first:

October 21, 2011

Q. What is bipolar effect and its significance in electroplating?


October 21, 2011

A. Hi, Vishal.

This refers to the fact that a metal item in an electrified tank forms a shortcut between the anode and cathode because it is more conductive than the liquid solution. As a result of that, the end nearer to the cathode becomes anodic and the end nearer the anode becomes cathodic. A useful example is that you can actually make an auxiliary anode for plating inside an item without any electrical connection: put one end near the anodes, and that end will become cathodic, the other end will become anodic and serve as the auxiliary anode.


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

sidebar November 9, 2011

No- No Ted's got it all wrong ...
Bipolar effect is when you have tried running your plating setup so many times and gotten really frustrated - and sometimes you are really happy when it works perfectly and then the next day you haven't changed anything and it turns out like crap and you can't figure out why and you get really depressed over it ...
That's why it's called the Bi-Polar effect! Nothing to do with electrons.

Tim Bandy
- Orlando, Florida, USA

January 18, 2012

thumbs up sign You are absolutely correct, Tim. "bi-Pōl'-ar". Of course!

Sorry, I completely missed the boat. I thought the fellow was asking about the well-known "Bip'-o-lar" Effect. You know, the electrons ticking along "bip, bip, bip ..."

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

September 5, 2013

Q. I have three Nickel Plating tanks all 12 feet long. Parts from two are chrome plated perfectly. Parts from third tank have burning in Chrome Plating (Around 50% Parts). After full investigation, we have reached the conclusion that the jig coming out of tank has bipolar effect. If we keep jigs apart from each other (by skipping one jig at alternate position) the bipolar effect is reduced. Almost no problem at all. The moment we complete the jigs the problem starts.
Please suggest some remedy.

Shazer Awan
- Lahore, Pakistan

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