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# electroplating science fair help? Answered

i was wondering if anyone knows an experiment i can do that involves electroplating (the experiment should not be just "electroplate something". i need a question so to create a hypothesis). if anyone has one, i need it as soon as possible.

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## 6 Replies

Jack A Lopez (author)2012-02-04

I am going to guess (erm... hypothesize) that an electrolysis setup could be used to measure the oxidation state
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxidation_state
of the metal ions involved in the etching of metal at the anode
( M → M+n plus n e- ),or the plating of metal at the cathode
(M+n plus n e- → M).    This number n,  depends on the metal.  Usually it is a number in the range {1,2,3}.  For example I think copper in electrolysis usually loses two electrons per atom, when it gets etched or plated.

That is: Cu → Cu+2 plus 2e- , for the the anode reaction.

BTW, a convenient mnemonic to remember which electrode loses metal, and which one gets plated:    "The (a)node is (a)ttacked.  The (c)athode (c)ollects."

One way to actually test this hypothesis might be to measure both the the total charge that flows through the cell in mols of electrons, and the number of mols of metal that appear or disappear,  from the either of the electrodes.

I think the easiest way to measure the charge would be to use a constant current regulated power supply, so that the charge is just this constant current multiplied by the time you leave it on.

For measuring the amount of metal that collects, or disappears from an electrode, I think the best way to do that would be to actually weigh each electrode  before and after.  So you'd need electrolysis runs long enough to plate, or dissolve, at least a few grams worth of metal.  And you can calculate approximately how many ampere*hours of charge it should take to do that.

Kiteman (author)2012-02-03

What kinds of metal can be electroplated?

How does the concentration of the dissolved salt affect the efficiency of the electroplating process?

How does the applied voltage / current affect the electroplating process?

How does the orientation of the object being electroplated affect the thickness of the final coating? (ie does the back plate as well as the front? What about the nooks and crannies of complex forms?)

~or~

You could demonstrate the use of the electroplating process to purify "native" copper, or try and find out if you can use the electroplating process to separate the metals of an alloy.

iceng (author)2012-02-03

I really like this ible by MaggieJs who makes it an art-form.   .   .    A

rickharris (author)2012-02-03

How about asking the question can I electroplate things that do not conduct electricity e.g. leaves.

As a hint the answer is yes you can i leave it to you to find out how and write it up.

PS it's a great way to make unusual jewellery.

canucksgirl (author)2012-02-03

Neat idea. :)

canucksgirl (author)2012-02-02

Here is an interesting electroplating instructable. Ask the question "how is this possible?" and formulate a theory on why this occurs.