Bronze Plating

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Posted on: 9/1/2003

Question: What is bronze, and how does one bronze plate?

Question:

What is bronze, and how does one bronze plate? N. P.

Answer:

Good question! Bronze is an alloy consisting of copper and tin. Sometimes other metals are added to improve toughness. Bronze can be plated as a decorative finish and is sometimes used as a substitute for nickel. The color of the deposit can vary from copper color (2–3% tin) to white (> 20% tin). Many different plating baths have been used for plating bronze, with cyanide and pyrophosphate being the most common.

A typical cyanide plating bath is as follows:

Component Concentration
Sodium stannate 100 g/liter
Sodium cyanide 28 g/liter
Copper cyanide 12 g/liter
Sodium hydroxide 10 g/liter
Sodium cyanide, free 16 g/liter
Sodium hydroxide, free 15 g/liter

 

Operating Conditions  
Temperature 140 – 160F
Current Density 20 – 50 ASF

A very recent paper discusses decorative bronze plating in detail: N. V. Mandich, Metal Finishing Magazine, June 2003.


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