A Quick Guide to Copper Plating

A Quick Guide to Copper Plating

Aside from Nickel plating, copper plating is performed more than any other form of electroplating, and when you learn a little bit more about copper in general, the reasons why become instantly apparent.

Electroplating is a process used in a number of industries, especially the electronics industries, as well as metal-based industries. With copper plating, basically, a thin layer of copper will be carefully deposited on top of a metallic surface of a solid, via the usage of a powerful electronic current. Copper plating is a type of electro-chemical process, and it is extremely beneficial for certain types of industry. Primarily, it functions as a very effective form of undercoat for other forms of plating, for a whole variety of different reasons. Here’s a more detailed look at copper plating in general.

Solutions Used in Copper Plating

Before we look at the benefits of copper plating, we’ll take a look at the different solutions used in copper plating. These are: mildly alkaline, alkaline, and acidic.

Alkaline copper is described as having one of the best throwing powers, but it cannot be plated at high current densities, plus it usually requires the involvement of cyanide. Acid copper is the cheapest, it can be plated at very high current densities, it is simple to control, and it is very common. However, it doesn’t have the throwing power of copper that is alkaline. Mildly alkaline copper is less corrosive, it is commonly used on circuit boards which are printed, and it is considered non-toxic. Again however, it requires cyanide in order for it to be deposited directly onto steel or copper.

What Are the Benefits of Copper Plating?

Now that we know a little more about copper plating, and the different forms, let’s take a look at some of the main benefits:

Copper is a Great Electrical Conductor: One of the biggest benefits of copper plating is the fact that copper is a fantastic electrical conductor, meaning that even the thinnest layer of copper can function as a very effective conductor for various electrical components.

Copper is Flexible: Another great benefit of copper is the fact that it is a very flexible and soft metal, so it is often used in electrical parts and components that need added flexibility. The copper will easily adhere to the surface it is applied to, even when bent, providing uniform coverage that never peels out.

Copper Provides Effective Corrosion Protection: Copper is one of the least corrosive metals currently in existence, and due to this, copper plating can provide valuable corrosion protection for other metals. It will commonly be used as an under-plate, in which it will function as a protective barrier between metal deposits and the base material.

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