Capabilities and Applications of Copper Plating

Many electroplating options are available depending on the application wanted. Gold is advantageous for biocompatibility, platinum for components of pacemakers, and silver for situations that require very high levels of electrical conductivity. Copper plating is a commonly utilized choice in various circumstances. Industries that use this metal can include HVAC, electronics, semiconductors, and aerospace to name a few. Copper plating is the second most commonly utilized option in the electroplating industry, behind nickel, and has many beneficial properties.

Copper can be utilized when certain properties and qualities are needed. The metal is a red colored, soft choice that is solderable, ductile, and has great electrical conductivity. Copper can tarnish very easily, so it is commonly used as an undercoat before another metal to be electroplated. Aluminum does not react well with a lot of metals, but copper has been found to attach efficiently and be utilized before another final finish is used. This plating choice has high throwing power that contributes to filling sharp areas of the base metal to allow for an even surface for subsequent layers. Copper’s ductile nature also contributes to a shiny appearance for the final finish of the item.

There are instances where copper will diffuse through the outer metal layer, like in usage with gold. A partial oxide layer will form on the outside of the electroplated part, so choices such as palladium or nickel would be a better choice. Nickel is the more cost-efficient option but is magnetic, so a non-magnetic performance could consider palladium instead. The application will depend on what performance is needed and what metals are being used together. The main benefits that copper plating solutions provide are electrical conductivity, solderable and ductile properties, uniform coating, a shiny finish, and a great undercoat for ensuing metals to be plated.

ProPlate has experience with many metals like copper in the electroplating industry. Our engineering team has worked on many successful projects in various industries such as aerospace, dental, and medical. If you have any electroplating needs, please consider us for your next project.

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