How to Electroplating a Quarter

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Introduction: How to Electroplating a Quarter

Quarters are nice and silvery. What if they looked like a big penny? This video shows you how to electroplate metal objects.

How to Electroplate a Quarter
Attach a piece of copper (a penny should work) to the positive + end of a battery
Attach the quarter to the negative end -
Fill a beaker/glass with a copper salt...copper chloride, copper nitrate (any salt should work, even vinegar)
Fill the beaker with water and place in your metals

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    27 Comments

    umm... will doing this expose me to harmful materials?

    Good video. It looks like the copper got oxide (or maybe it was just the camera). Pure copper should be shiny. I used 1.5V in my instructable. It took much longer since I didn't have any copper compounds.

    right,  you were seeing copper oxide.  Higher voltages result in over reactions at the electrode (a.k.a. burnt copper).  Best way to get a good result fast?...
    Attach multiple low voltage batteries in parallel (to increase the amps),  heat the solution (to increase ion transport), and somehow agitate the solution (to mitigate crystal growth).

    You should have a decently thick plate in seconds to minutes (depending on a lot of factors).

    also keep the electrodes at least 3 inches away from each other.  Decreasing distance has the same effect as increasing voltage.

    So high amps and low voltage, and seperation between electrodes keeps the electrodes from corroding?

    right, you're aiming to have the local voltage potential lower than 1.4 volts. Look up hydrogen potential (single electrode electrolysis), this will give you a better idea on how separation affects your electrodes.

    I'm trying to build a long term electrolysis unit that can be run for long periods at a time. I'd rather not have to think of some complex way of designing changeable electrodes, and I don't want to keep buying batteries for the carbon rods; I want something I can just glue in and let sit. Unfortunately, I'm not sure this is physically/chemically possible. Using very low voltage, say, .5v, and carbon rods from heavy duty carbon-zinc batteries, placed several inches away, would the carbon still corrode?

    That system would work, but the carbon is going to decay simply because of the fact that you are using them as anodes. I would suggest using a copper anode resting on some sort of slanted brush contact. this would allow the electrode to slide further into the solution as it wears out (kind of an auto feed mechanism). as to electrode distance... you don't have to worry about adjusting the distance, just be aware that there is a minimum distance and the more you encroach on it the more you're going to have problems with oxidization. Better too far than too close.

    What would make this work quicker - higher voltage or higher amperage? Also, does it have to be some sort of copper salt or can you use table salt - I got comfused when you said vinegar would work also.

    Also higher amps means faster reaction.  This means shorter plate time.  If you leave it in too long without something to randomize the direction of crystal growth large metal crystals will start to form on you surface.

    This has more to do with fluid physics than chemistry.

    Simplest solution...

    High amps - Multiple shorter dips in the electrolyte.