Electro-coating things

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Remote-Controlled Dave
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Electro-coating things

Post by Remote-Controlled Dave » Wed May 06, 2015 5:54 pm

A woman came into work today, basically they are trying to coat leaves in copper using an electrode bath. She got some conductive paint to coat the leaf in but when the copper sticks to it, it doesn't show up the details on the leaf (the veins and stuff). She wanted to know if there was a substance she can use instead of the paint that is thinner so when the copper sticks to it it shows the leaf in detail.
Anyone know anything about this kind of thing? She's tried thinning down the paint but it creates bubbles. So a conductive, thin substance to coat the leaf in so that the copper can stick to it. Anyone?
Thanks.
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EpicentrE
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Re: Electro-coating things

Post by EpicentrE » Wed May 06, 2015 10:04 pm

What she's trying to do is electroplating. From Wikipedia:

"In one technique, the anode is made of the metal to be plated on the part. Both components are immersed in a solution called an electrolyte containing one or more dissolved metal salts as well as other ions that permit the flow of electricity."
"Other electroplating processes may use a non-consumable anode such as lead or carbon. In these techniques, ions of the metal to be plated must be periodically replenished in the bath as they are drawn out of the solution."

If any of the above are available to purchase anywhere then that would be the proper way to do it. As for an easy-to-obtain proxy for "proper" materials, I'm honestly not sure. The only thing I could suggest would be to see if there are thinner paints available. I bet it's the sort of thing someone on some hobby forum somewhere has done before, but I couldn't find anything in a quick Google.
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Re: Electro-coating things

Post by Remote-Controlled Dave » Wed May 06, 2015 10:25 pm

Yeah, she said the same - Google was surprisingly low on ideas! One substance kept coming up but she has no idea where to get it, and Google wasn't a help again. She has everything else, just needs something to coat the leaf.
I thought it might be the kind of puzzle someone on here might be able to crack. Certainly kept me interested in an otherwise uneventful shift.
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Re: Electro-coating things

Post by limpet » Tue May 12, 2015 9:08 am

Use a soft pencil to rub graphite onto the leaf, that might work.
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Re: Electro-coating things

Post by Remote-Controlled Dave » Tue May 12, 2015 2:19 pm

Thanks John!
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