Intro: Copper Plating
In this instruction I am going through how to copper plating a washer with a few simple steps! There is room for experimentation in for example: Changing the time, voltage and acids! :) I will only go true the basic steps in how to copper plate, no explanation in "why" will be found in this tutorial!
Price: 1 – 3$ || Time: 1 – 3 h || Difficulty: Easy - Medium
Warning! Do this experiment in a well ventilated area, and if your a young scientist, do this together with an adult!
What you need:
- Copper x2 small pieces (In the video I use coper wire, but other copper objects works as well!)
- Metal object to copper plate ( I use a washer)
- Glass jar with lid
- Alligator-clip wires x2
- Power-supply (preferred one with a changeable voltage output)
- Vinegar (which will be our acid)
Polisher and polish (if you want to polish your object afterwords)
Step 1: Watch This Video First! :)
This is a instruction video I have made :) I will go true and show all steps written in this instruction!
If the video only appears as an picture, then you can follow this link instead! :) It will open a new window/tab so you easily can come back here afterwords!
Step 2: Dissolve Copper!
I do not know if "dissolve" is the right word for this, but it at least makes it clear what we are going to do in this step!
Start of by placing one small copper object in both alligator-clip. Then place both into the jar. Make sure that they do not touch each other!! (shown in picture). Then add vinegar until most of the copper is covered, but do not let the alligator-clips touch the vinegar (Shown in picture).
It is now time to connect the alligator-clips to the power supply. Do not plug it in the wall yet! When both alligator-clips are connected to the power supply, set the voltage to 12v. When everything is done you can connect the power supply to the wall.
(The power supply´s end part was removed and only 2 wires where left, making the connection for the alligator clips easy. It is rather easy to see in the video! )
You will now notice that one of the copper paces is bubbling! Remember witch, sins this is the negative pole/part!
I let this stand for roughly 30min. But once again, play around with different voltage and time! :) But I recommend to stay between 0 - 12V for safety reasons, and it works well enough! :)
Step 3: Copper Plating!
After 30min I unplug the power supply from the wall, I then remove the minus pole, or the copper peace that where bubbling before! I then place my metal object, or washer in this case in the alligator clip. Set your power supply as low as possible (to start with). The lowest my power supply could go where 3v. Connect you power supply back in the wall and watch your metal object be plated! I let my washer be in the liquid for 30min.
Some say that you need to let your copper plating dry for 1-2days before anything is done with your object. If this is true or not I do not know, still I have not seen any differences between removing the excess materiel directly or after 2days.
To get the plating shiny you can simply polish your object (then its required to have a polisher and polish for copper). Make sure to not polish to much sins it is only a thin layer of copper!
Do not forget to play around with the time and voltage to see the different results and try to get an even spread of copper over your object! :)
Thanks for reading and happy copper plating! :)
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