Electrodeposition of Copper on Mild Steel: Peculiarities of the Process
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The process of electrodeposition of copper coatings on a mild steel substrate was analyzed. The reasons for poor adhesion of the coatings from acid and alkaline cyanideless electrolytes were determined. It was shown that the problem of the direct copper coatings’ electrochemical plating on a steel substrate from cyanideless electrolytes results from the presence of the adjoint process of contact exchange in a copper ions–iron system. Good adhesion coatings can be developed only on termination of the contact exchange at the initial stage until the steel substrate under the sediment pores is not subjected to significant etching. In acid electrolytes, the adhesion is poor because of a large value of the contact exchange current. In alkaline cyanideless electrolytes iron is passivated, and adhesion of the coating is insufficient because of the presence of a separating passive film at the substrate–coating interface. In neutral electrolytes, it is possible to obtain a coating with a good adhesion to the substrate, but the results are not stable due to a low buffer capacity of the solution. During the deposition of a copper coating from acid electrolytes using a prenickel-plating, a thin nickel sublayer has pores through which the process of the contact exchange occurs. It is shown that, in order to develop coatings with a good adhesion, the minimum thickness of the nickel sublayer must be 3–5 μm.
Keywordscopper electroplating copper electrolyte aminocomplexes adhesion to substrate mild steel contact exchange
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