The Effect of Solution Type, Concentration, Cell Voltage, and Electrode Size on the Efficiency of Electroplating Copper onto Brass

Cellphones and computers play an enormous role in world today; they are used for communication, work, and entertainment. But not everyone can afford these expensive technologies because of the rather costly electroplated circuitry and electrical components of the technology. Industries electroplate circuit boards and other components to increase conductivity, durability, and anti-corrosiveness while maintaining a light weight. The purpose of this research was to find the most efficient method of electroplating copper onto brass, thus reducing the cost for all parties.

The method of experimentation was developed after an extensive amount of research. A petri dish was filled with a specific amount of electrolyte solution. Electrodes were washed, massed, and connected to a DC ammeter, which supplied and measured voltage. The electrodes were submerged in the solution and the ammeter was turned on. After running the current for five minutes, the electrodes were detached, washed, and massed. The difference in mass of the electrodes was calculated and analyzed.

In order to analyze the data, a four factor DOE (Design of Experiment) was completed. The hypothesis developed was the cell consisting of the Copper (II) Sulfate solution, 1.0 molarity, 12.0 voltage, and the 1.5” electrode lengths (+,+,+,+) would produce the greatest mass of copper plated. The hypothesis was rejected because analysis concluded Copper II Chloride (CuCl2) solution, 1.0 molarity, 12.0 voltage, and 1.5” electrode lengths (-,+,+,+) produced the greatest mass of copper electroplated.

This research can be applied to reap real world benefits, utilizing the most efficient method of electroplating would save a company resources and time, thus saving money for both the producers and consumers.


Research Conducted By:

Kenneth Braggs
Warren Woods Tower High School

Daniel Havern
Warren Mott High School