A Brief Guide to Copper Plating

CopperCopper plating is the process of depositing a copper layer onto various metals for functional and decorative purposes. Copper can produce a dull, polished, semi bright, gloss or satin finish and is used to coat metals for purposes ranging from automotive to medical. Copper is a chemical element with a high thermal and electrical conductivity, and is antibacterial, tough, ductile and non-magnetic.

What does the copper plating process involve?

The copper plating process involves electroplating, whereby an electric current is used to deposit a layer of copper onto a base metal. Many metals can have copper plating, including silver, aluminium, gold and plastic. Any iron based metals will need a nickel base coat as copper does not easily plate onto a passivated surface.

Firstly, the material is cleaned ready to be plated to prevent imperfections. Secondly, the electroplating process is applied by passing an electric current through a copper salt electrolyte solution. By adding two terminals in the solution and connecting them to a power supply, the electricity flows through the circuit and a layer of copper atoms deposit on the metal.

What is copper plating used for?

Copper plating is one of the most popular metal finishes, and is used for a variety of applications including:

·         As a preparatory layer for other nickel and silver plating purposes.

·         RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) and EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference) shielding purposes, as it’s an excellent conductor.

·         Large aerials fitted under railways due to its bright and levelling properties.

·         Laboratory and medical equipment due to its bacterial resistance.

·         Coins, which were made entirely of copper until its market value increased. Now coins are made of steel with a copper layer, due to its easy plating process and durability.

·         Aluminium wheels as it levels surface imperfections and ensures a bright finish.

·         Renovating worn items such as pots and pans.

Enhance the appearance of metal and plastic or modify its qualities with copper plating. For more detailed information about copper plating or to enquire about our copper plating services in Dorset, please call our technical team on 01202 677939 or contact us.

Find more brief guides, including an electroplating guide to zinc plating and metal finishing on the Dorsetware blog.

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