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topic 60519

How to anneal silver plated copper & nickel

October 3, 2017

Q. I was given some silver plated copper and silver plated nickel by a customer. Bending these is impossible. Can these be annealed?

Mary Boyer
Hobbyist - Conway, Arkansas

October 25, 2017

A. Mary

If you anneal the silver plated copper, the silver will dissolve/diffuse into the copper and look like it has disappeared. You will have made a silver-copper alloy at the surface.

Nickel anneals between 1300-1700 °F. Time at heat depends on the size of your article. It is often used as a barrier layer between copper and silver to prevent diffusion. We are able to pass silver plated copper alloy wire with a nickel plate between the two at around 1300-1500 °F for about 3-7 seconds and have intact silver plate at the end. Without the nickel, the silver would be 100% diffused into the copper. XRF measurement shows it is still there, but not visible to our eyes. It does not vaporize.

But, a further question: if you anneal your articles, how will you restore them to the original hardness? Maybe it is not important.

Jerry Smith
Little Falls Alloys, Inc. - Bloomingdale, New Jersey, USA

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