Metal Finishing Guide Book

2013

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and thiosulfate solutions. Silver succinimide complexes formed the basis of the first proprietary processes to be offered commercially. These are discussed here also. Commercially Available Systems The two proprietary systems currently being offered commercially are compared here. The manufacturers-recommended operating conditions are compared in Table I. Both processes will deposit silver directly onto copper alloys but both require a strike to promote adhesion to nickel, highly leaded brass, and other metals prone to passivity. Both suppliers recommend using a noncyanide-based copper strike where necessary. Deposits are typically as bright as the substrate onto which they are plated. Brightening systems similar to those available for cyanide processes have not yet been developed. It is recommended that deposits from both these processes be dipped in 10 to 20% sulfuric acid before final rinsing and drying in order to whiten and stabilize the deposit color. It is possible to apply chromate passivation and electrophoretic lacquer coatings in a similar manner to silver deposits obtained from cyanide systems. Careful maintenance of solution pH is very important with both these systems. If the solution pH is allowed to fall below 7.5 the complex degrades, resulting in precipitation of silver metal. This process is irreversible. Early processes lacked sufficient buffering and suffered short bath life due to low pH conditions at the anode. With better buffering and careful maintenance both suppliers claim multiple bath turnovers under production conditions. It is interesting to note that the process using agitation at the anode appears to last longer, again emphasizing the importance of pH at the anode. (Compare with high-speed processes below.) Iodide Solutions Several authors report some success with baths that are quite similar. A typical solution might be as follows: Silver iodide 20-45 g/L (2.5-6.0 oz/gal) Potassium iodide HI or HCl Gelatin (optional) 300-600 g/L 5-15 g/L 1-4 g/L (40-80 oz/gal) (0.7-2 oz/gal) (0.15-0.55 oz/gal) Temperature Current density 25-60ºC 0.1-15 A/dm2 (80-l40ºF) (1.0-150 A/ft2) Without exception these authors found iodine in deposits from their particular formula. This fact, and the relatively high price of the iodide salts, has prevented further use of this type of solution. Trimetaphosphate Solution A process was developed for silver plating magnesium and its alloys; its use on other metals is not reported. Silver trimetaphosphate (monobasic), Ag2HP3O9 Sodium trimetaphosphate (trimer), Na6P6O18 Tetrasodium pyrophosphate, Na4P2O7 3-45 g/L 100-160 g/L 50-175 g/L (0.40-0.60 oz/gal) (13.5-21.5 oz/gal) (6.7-23.5 oz/gal) 313

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