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topic 7792

Plating From Waste Photographic Chemicals

Recovering Silver from
Photographic Materials


Could you explain how I can silver plate straight from waste photographic chemicals. I would like to try plating flowers and other small items; which is the best way to remove a small amount of silver from the chemicals and refine it, as I don't have easy access to a silver recovery unit and the chemicals are stored for months at a time.

Debbie Paterson
- Wingham, NSW, Australia


Well Debbie, it is much more involved than a person would think.

First, there probably is not enough silver in solution (small amount) to electroplate.

Second, the pH would not be correct I believe. Cyanide is the best known additive for silver plating. There are non-cyanide processes out there, but proprietary additives are used. The flowers would have to be coated with a conductive coating first. Then copper applied.

Something to consider: be aware people have been killed from toxic fumes attempting to recover silver from these type of solutions.

Bill Hemp
tech svc. w/ chemical supplier - Grand Rapids, Michigan

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