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topic 7063

Recovery of copper from electroplating and etching solutions



A discussion started in 2001 & continuing through 2017

Recovery of copper from CuSO4 as a science experiment

(2001)

Q. To whom it may concern, I am a G.N.V.Q intermediate science student. I am doing an assignment, and the scenario for this assignment is:

'The chemical plant produces as a by-product a solution of copper sulphate, I am required to investigate the recovery of the copper from the solution'.

In the experiment for this assignment I will be using 10 cm^3 of copper sulphate and then multiplying it by 10.

Can you please give me some useful information that will help me do this assignment?

Nazish Ansar
- United Kingdom, Leeds, Beeston


(2001)

A. Hi Nazish. I'm not sure quite what you mean by 'then multiplying by 10'. Do you mean you are then supposed to scale up your numbers to recover the copper from 100 ml? If so, I LOVE your science teacher, as 'scaling up' is a very important lesson that many in industry haven't learned! (We have many threads from professionals here where they say something like "we had 10000 liters of waste we are trying to treat, so we started by adding 1500 liters of this or that, then added 1700 liters of a second thing and 800 liters of a third thing, but it's not treated correctly, so how many hundred liters of a fourth thing should we try?" And we despair that they have made 14000 liters of a witches brew instead of one beaker).

I also don't know what type of information you are looking for, but the copper will spontaneously plate out onto a wad of soap-free steel wool. You could see how much steel wool you need, then scale up for the larger batch. Another routine would be to add caustic or a milder alkali material to increase the pH until the copper precipitates out as an oxide/hydroxide, then do your scale up of how much you'll need for the bigger batch. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



Recover copper from cupric chloride etchant

(2000)

RFQ: I'm looking for a system that can recover copper from etchant (cupric chloride) Any reply will be appreciated.

ken chiak
- Singapore
^- Sorry, this RFQ is outdated
     View Current RFQs



(2000)

A. Hi Ken. The copper can presumably be electroplated out of the solution with a recovery cell, or removed via ion-exchange. But if you are looking for the simplest recovery of copper from etchant, you could perhaps consider sulfuric acid - peroxide etching because the copper solubility is so temperature sensitive that recovery of copper sulphate crystals is possible continuously by recirculating the solution between the hot etching tank and a cold crystallization tank.

The site's supporting advertisers will contact you privately regarding sourcing of such recovery systems. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



To minimize searching and offer multiple viewpoints, we combined multiple threads into the dialog you're viewing. Please forgive any resultant repetition.



(1999) -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. How do I get rid of copper ions in my etching bath with a simple electrochemical device? Scientific articles are dealing with too complicated setups for me. It is also too costly for me to deliver the waste for destruction. Best regards,
Goran

Goran Frennesson
- Sweden


(1999)

A. Electrochemical cells (electrolytic recovery cells) can be no more complicated than they need to be, and may not be too expensive for you.

It depends on the solution chemistry and other factors, but electrolytic recovery may be more or less expensive or practical than such alternatives as ion-exchange and crystallization. If you are using sulfuric acid plus peroxide for your etching, it is possible to operate at a high temperature and periodically or continuously cool the solution to precipitate copper sulphate crystals. Good luck. Regards.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


(1999)

A. In my own experiments, I have gotten very good results plating copper out of hydrogen peroxide/sulfuric PCB board etch. At current densities of 5 - 10 amps/square foot, a nice ductile foil was obtained that peeled easily from a stainless steel cathode.

It was necessary to neutralize the peroxide with sodium metabisulfite before plating commenced - without it, no Cu deposited. The electrolyte also dissolved a stainless steel anode - you have to use a titanium or precious metal oxide coated anode.

All in all, encouraging, but there are significant costs that may be greater than what you're incurring now. Do your own tests and see. Good luck.

dave wichern
Dave Wichern
Consultant - The Bronx, New York


(2000)

A. Hi Goran, try to use graphite for the positive "anode", use a low current density on it. Tell me the result.

Odilon DeMoura
- Lyndhurst, New Jersey



Using porous carbon electrodes for copper recovery

Q. Recently, I'm recovering copper from electroplating rinse water by electrochemical method. I have some difficulty in recovering metal like copper that has deposited on the porous carbon electrodes economically. I hope that experts out there could assist me in that matter.

Thank you very much.

Jane Koon
- George Town, Penang, Malaysia


A. Why not use a copper cathode in your electrochemical recovery, and then you can just add what you recover from the solution to existing copper? Only the anode in this application needs to be inert, as far as I know. Hope this helps.

Regards, Henry

Henry Thiessen
- Swift current, Sask. Canada


Electrolytic Separation, Recovery and Refining of Metals

A. Hi Jane. I would agree with Henry.

Just as one would not use an ultrafilter as a gravel screen, very high surface area porous carbon cathodes should probably not be used for primary electrolytic recovery because of the problem you are having.

If you need copper removal to extremely low levels you can use your porous carbon anodes as a secondary polishing system, but use a primary electrolytic recovery cell with conventional copper anodes or strippable stainless steel anodes as a first step. Alternately you could consider a recovery system with copper wool cathodes, because they can be melted down when full. Good luck!

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



Retec for recovery of copper

(2006)

Q. I am a waste treatment engineer, and our company bought a Retec for our complex-copper containing waste. I'm worried about the cathodes. What material are they made of? Will our smelter get contaminated?
Regards,

Peter Fogelqvist
waste treatment - Gothenburg, Sweden


(2006)

A. Hi Peter. Only Retec, or your Retec manual, can answer that question without doing an analysis I suppose. But I thought the idea is that they are an expanded or reticulated pure copper designed to be smelted. Evoqua has discontinued the Retec line. Get that manual quick, while you can! :-)Good luck.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



Stripping copper plated wire and recovering the copper

September 19, 2014

Q. Dear Sir,

I am just starting a plating shop where i will plate Copper over Mild Steel wires. This process is an online process and the final wire (Copper Coated Steel Wire) will be used as a conductor for data cables.

I also have known associates who electroplate copper over MS strips and then later do stamping over the strips. A lot of scrap is generated in the stamping process.

1.I WANT TO KNOW HOW CAN I RECOVER THE COPPER WHICH IS PLATED OVER THE MS IN BOTH THE ABOVE MENTIONED CASES AS A LOT OF SCRAP IS GENERATED. ARE THERE DIFFERENT WAYS TO RECOVER COPPER WHICH IS PLATED OVER MILD STEEL? IF YES THEN WHAT WILL BE THE MOST ECONOMICAL METHOD TO RECOVER COPPER?

2.CAN I NOT REVERSE ELECTROPLATE THE SCRAP, WHERE THE SCRAP WILL BE THE ANODE AND COPPER PLATES WILL ACT LIKE A CATHODE OVER WHICH THE COPPER FROM THE SCRAP(ANODE) WILL MIGRATE AND GET PLATED ?

3.IF I USE CHEMICAL STRIPPERS FROM PLATING CHEMICALS MANUFACTURING COMPANIES, HOW CAN I RECOVER THE COPPER WHICH HAS DISSOLVED IN THE STRIPPING CHEMICALS ?

4.WHICH ACID CAN I USE TO STRIP OFF COPPER FROM THE SCRAP? AND HOW DO I LATER RECOVER THE COPPER FROM THE ACID ? I HAVE HEARD THAT NITRIC ACID IS A GOOD OPTION. WHAT ARE THE STEPS INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS?

5.I HAVE EVEN HEARD THE USE OF ION EXCHANGE RESINS USED TO RECOVER PRECIOUS METALS? IS THIS TRUE? IF YES, THEN HOW CAN IT BE USED?

I am extremely sorry if my questions are stupid in any way. I appreciate and value all the support from Finishing.com.

Thank you in advance.

Regards,

Jaydeep Bhuta
Plating Shop Owner - Mumbai,Maharashtra. India


October 8, 2014

A. You may want to explore using ammonium carbonate to dissolve the copper and not attack the steel. It may be possible to electrowin the copper from this solution and then re-use it to strip more copper.

Lyle Kirman
consultant - Cleveland, Ohio



Reclaiming copper from filter press cake

May 11, 2015

Q. After the cleaning of brass products, the solutions leave a sludge behind that is then pressed in a filter press. This leaves a cake that has a substantial amount of copper in it.

I am interested in what would be required to transfer this copper to a copper starter sheet in an electroplating process.
Tank, chemicals, power supply (volts/amps) basic set-up.

Just the basics for now to help determine feasibility.

Thank you for reading,

Russ Coon
- Purgitsville, West Virginia USA


May 15, 2015

A. You would be better reclaiming the copper from whatever liquid you are treating that is generating the sludge.

dave wichern
Dave Wichern
Consultant - The Bronx, New York



March 6, 2017

Q. How to recover copper from electroplating bath which was used in cleaning process of copper by sulfuric acid.

Bhautik Dadhania
- Rajkot, Gujrat, India


March 2017

A. Hi Bhautik.

I assume you mean that the bath contained sulfuric acid and was used to clean copper, and that it was "part of an electroplating line", not that it was an electroplating tank? Please spend a couple of paragraphs describing the particulars, because we don't know enough about your situation to make any suggestion -- presumably there is other stuff (hydrogen peroxide?) in that cleaning bath? Thanks.

Regards,

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


March 11, 2017

A. You can likely plate it out, perhaps after the addition of some grain refiner.

dave wichern
Dave Wichern
Consultant - The Bronx, New York


March 12, 2017

Q. Hello sir
I want to know is there any easy and economical process to recover copper from ammoniacal etchant of PCB industries -- any means by easy electrolysis or any other process please help me. I have this solution in large quantity.

Mohid shah
Scrapper - Hyderabad,india


March 12, 2017

A. Copper can be recovered from spent etching solution by simple displacement reaction, fine metal powder of less noble metals like Iron and Zinc will turn any copper sulfate(base of most copper plating solutions) or copper chloride(etching solution) to copper power and zinc sulfate(colorless) or zinc chloride(colorless),

There is a video of on youtube by Robert Murray about making copper nanoparticles using a household blender, iron powder and a capping agent like ascorbic acid, according to his information this can be done for just about any metal, so I will be trying it with spent nickel plating solutions in the future.



Marvin Sevilla
- Managua Nicaragua


March 15, 2017

A. I don't think there's enough difference in the redox potentials of Fe and Ni that that would work.

You might try Al dust.

dave wichern
Dave Wichern
Consultant - The Bronx, New York


March 20, 2017

A. Today scrap copper is about £3 per kilo and ascorbic acid about £40 so I am a little skeptical about the proposed recovery method.
The two simple methods are cementation on scrap iron or plating out.
Remember that etching solutions are there to dissolve copper so whatever oxidising component is used must be completely used up or neutralised first.

Interesting video but using a domestic spoon (and a food blender!) in a lab is a major crime and the echo makes an otherwise excellent commentary almost indecipherable.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire,
       England




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