Chem 315
Nickel Plating

The study that I completed was nickel plating a copper penny. The first step in this process is to clean all objects that you wish to coat. This is thoroughly done with gloves on so no oils are transferred onto the desired objects. This cleaning is done with household items such as vinegar and salt mixed together. Once the saturated solution is made you immerse the objects in it and gently scrub it with a bristle brush.

Then you take a container and put in nickel sulfate and warm water. Together these two create nickel ammonium sulfate. You then take batteries, attach wires to them with alligator clips at the end and on the negative end you put the object you are coating (in my case it was a penny) and on the positive clip you put the object you are using to coat (nickels). This technique is called electroplating.

The first time I conducted this experiment I expected everything to go perfectly and for the penny to be perfectly coated. This was not the case. I only used two batteries during my first trial and the second trial I used three which increased the electrons in the nickel ammonium sulfate and made the electrodes in the solution stronger and attach onto the copper better. The first time the penny looked as if it just needed some time to get the coating all around it but the reality was that the Tupperware was just too big of a volume to conduct this experiment. It would be like trying to put some nickel sulfate and some alligator clips into the ocean and expecting it to work. There was just too much space there for the penny to get properly and evenly coated. By changing the container to a small beaker and decreasing the distance for the electrons to travel and the process happened much quicker and more efficiently. The ratio of the solution to how strong the electrodes were wasn't going to be good enough to have this happen efficiently. After this change and the increase of voltage from a generator was made, then the alligator clips touched and blew apart. This again served to be a set back, after this was closely monitored the procedure ended up to be a success with a very well nickel plated copper penny. Once it's all done you once again clean your plated object with vinegar and salt.

smaller container

If i were to continue with my findings I would use a block of pure nickel instead of nickels so the whole plating material would be a hundred percent not just with some on it. With a more authentic origin the plating process would work better.

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