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Using lead to repair dents in copper before gold plating

December 29, 2011

Q. Dear fellow metal workers, I am in the process of prepping copper sinks that will be gold plated. However, some areas are inacessible to remove indentations caused in production. I am planning to fill the damage with lead solder, would this affect the plating process

David Sandford
- France

First of two simultaneous responses -- December 29, 2011

Be aware that in time the copper and lead will migrate right through the gold and corrode on top. You need a diffusion barrier of palladium or nickel between the copper/lead and the gold. Also. to plate over lead you need to prepare the surface with a dip in fluoboric acid. Lead forms an insoluble salt with sulfates and chlorides, then later the plating peals off.

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

Second of two simultaneous responses -- January 1, 2012

Lead will absolutely alter your subsequent plating, maybe to the point of making it a total failure. Why not brush plating with copper and dress back the surface to blend the repaired area. Acid copper solution will do a great job. Very fast and localized build-up, no corrosion to surrounding copper, little or no masking, no need to heat the part, no need to change your subsequent gold plating process, etc, etc. If dents are too deep (+1/32") silver brazing would be an option.
G. Marrufo-Mexico

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico

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