Stripping Copper Plate from Steel

Is there a way to remove copper plate from an assembled part?


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Q. We have copper-plated SA-675 carbon steel components that are welded to a larger steel assembly. We have now learned that the end user of these parts will not allow the use of copper-plated components. Is there a way of removing the copper plate from the assembled part? –C.J.

A. Copper plate can be removed from steel using chemical stripping solutions, but I don’t personally prefer to use them for two reasons: 1) There is a high risk of etching or otherwise damaging the base material if the process is not carefully controlled, and 2) there is a risk that you won’t remove all of the plated deposit.

 The most common chemical stripping method uses the following chemical solution: 

Chemical Component

Concentration*

Chromic acid

250 g/L

Sulfuric acid

2.5 g/L

*Operating temperature: 120o to 130oF

Another procedure that is sometimes used involves the following:

Chemical Component

Concentration**

Ammonium persulfate

50/g/L

Ammonia

15 ml/L

**Operating temperature: 75o to 80oF

Both methods use materials that require great care. Your best bet, in my opinion, is to scrap the parts and start over!

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