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Electroplating Copper on Stainless Steel


Chemicals and Solutions: 

Copper electrode

Stainless steel electrode

Copper sulfate electrolyte (0.5M CuSO4)


Gotham cell (rectangular glass jar)

D.C power supply with alligator clips

2 - electrode holders


Show student the electrodes.  Place electrodes in holders and in cell.

Fill cell 3/4 full with CuSO4 solution.

Connect red clip to copper electrode, black clip to other.

Use 6-8 volts D.C. You'll soon have a copper coating on the steel electrode.  Show students copper coating.

After use, reverse polarity and electroplate until copper just disappears from steel electrode. Do not allow to run any longer as solution would be ruined.

If step 5 has been completed satisfactorily, return solution to stock bottle.



The reaction:

At the copper anode:

Cu(s) ---> Cu2+(aq) + 2e-

At the stainless steel cathode:

Cu2+(aq) + 2e- ---> Cu(s)





To schedule a demonstration, please send an email to the demonstration lab.



Eric Camp

Lecture Demonstration Technician

Bagley Hall 171

(206) 543-1606


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