Galvanic copper plating


Galvanization is a method of coating metal objects with layer of other metal. It can be useful to protect against corrosion or to create decorative shapes on metal objects. Chemical background of this process is difficult, but the idea is simple (forgive me my indolence) - use electricity to move a bit of metal to the coated object.

a coin coated with coper by using galvanization

This experiment should be done with carefully and away from fire! Explosive mixture of H2 and O2 is being created during this process.

Tools and materials

  • plastic plate,
  • one glass of warm water,
  • pinch of kitchen salt,
  • copper wire with removed isolation,
  • aluminum tea-spoon,
  • DC power supply (3-10V).

How to do that

Tip water into the cup, throw salt and mix. Insert electrodes as presented on picture below and plug them to power supply. Put coated object into the water near to the copper electrode. From time to time move object to achieve steady layer.

diagram presents how to assembly a simple homemade galvanization machine

Time of object's exposition should be chosen empirically according to expected layer's thickness, object's size, parameters of used power supplier and amount of salt in the water.


Note, that the nail has been covered 6-7 years ago and its surface still shines.

nail coated with copper by using a simple galvanization machine

You may also check my post about home-made mixture for PCB tinning.

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