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Copper and Its Many Uses

You may not realize it, but copper plays a very prominent role in our world. You find it in musical instruments, pennies, bullets, automotive parts, and electrical connectors. Some metals are specific to one industry, but copper is widely used in many different sectors. In fact, it is so broadly used that its sales have been used to assess the health of the overall economy.

Uses of copper

(Pixabay / disign)

About 65 percent of copper’s overall usage is within the electrical industry because it offers these qualities:

  • Highly conductive (the most efficient electrical conductor next to silver)
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Malleable (changes its form easily)
  • Ductile (won’t lose strength or become brittle when stretched)

Most every form of electrical wire is produced from copper. In addition, virtually every type of electronic device has some derivative of copper in it. It may take the form of electronic connectors, printed circuit boards (PCBs), micro-chips, semi-conductors, vacuum tubes, circuit wiring and contacts, or welding electrodes. Copper is vital in televisions, cell phones, computers, cameras, and more.

Copper is also used heavily in the construction industry, with copper tubing as the gold standard for water systems in homes and other buildings. Copper water pipes are a popular choice because they restrain the growth of bacteria and viruses in the water they transport. They are also used frequently in heating systems. People like copper tubing because it can be easily bent and soldered, facilitating simple assembly. Copper is also a favorite for decorative effects. (Think of the domes on state capitols across the country.) Inside buildings, copper is often used for light fixtures, bathroom or kitchen faucets, and cabinetry hardware.

The transportation industry depends on copper, both for its electrical and thermal properties. Copper is the material of choice for radiators and oil coolers. Copper wiring is a mainstay for glass defrost systems and mirror and window controls. It is also used in airplanes. As cars begin to include more electronic components, they will draw more heavily on copper, and the rise in electric vehicles will further accelerate the demand.

There are copper pots and pans and copper art pieces. (The Statue of Liberty wears a cloak of 80 tons of copper sheet). Copper works well in clocks and watches because it is non-magnetic and doesn’t throw off the mechanical workings. Pre-1981 pennies were made primarily of copper, but now they are made from copper-plated zinc. As you look at the world around you with new eyes, you’ll be surprised at how much of it includes copper.

A variety of products can be copper plated for improved appearance, durability, malleability, and conductivity. Gold Plating Services offers a wide range of copper plating supplies and plating kits.

Why We Need Metal Plating

Metal is essential for different products and components, but many metals are subject to corrosion. The solution lies in coating the component with a layer of metal that is corrosion-resistant. Good coating metals include nickel, zinc, copper, chromium, and gold.

Why we need metal plating

(Pixabay / evekolor)

Why plate?

In addition to making a product corrosion-resistant, plating helps:

  • Strengthen the parent metal
  • Enable paint adhesion
  • Increase an object’s magnetism and ability to conduct electricity
  • Improve an object’s appearance
  • Diminish friction

There are two main types of plating:

  • Electroplating relies on an electrical current.
  • Electroless plating relies on an autocatalytic chemical process to get the metal coat to adhere.

History

Back in 1805, an Italian chemist named Luigi Brugnatelli figured out how to get gold plating to adhere to silver objects. Though Brugnatelli could be called the official founder of electroplating, his work was largely hidden away after he ran afoul of the French Academy of Sciences. A few decades later, Russian and English scientists figured out how to do what Brugnatelli did. Unlike with Brugnatelli, their work became widely known. By the mid-1940s, scientists had a patent for electroplating, and factories in England were rolling out highly popular silver-plated decorative items such as platters and utensils.

Uses

Today, metal plating has many applications:

  • Jewelry. Can’t afford solid gold jewelry? You can purchase metal-plated versions instead. Manufacturers can use a cheaper base metal and coat it in pure gold or other precious metals using jewelry plating supplies to deliver a beautiful product at a lower price.
  • Electronics. Plating can enhance electrical conductivity. Thus, many of the components that you find in your phone, computer or cellphone are plated in metals such as silver that conduct electricity well.
  • Automobiles. Many automobile parts are made of plastic, then coated with metal to allow them to conduct electricity. Engine parts are often coated with gold or zinc-nickel to make them resistant to extreme heat.
  • Household items. Product such as silverware can tarnish and scratch, but when they are coated with certain metals, they will maintain their finish and be more durable over time.
  • Computers. Electroless nickel plating offers magnetic properties that are important in computer hard drives.

The world would be a different place without metal plating. To do your own metal plating, order a starter kit with all of the supplies, equipment, and instructions that you will need.

Up Your Game With Gold-plated Golf Clubs

The sport of golf features four major championships per year. The first of these is the Masters Tournament. The 82nd edition of the Masters will be held April 5-8 at the Augusta National Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia.

Gold-plated Golf Clubs

(Freeimages / Aron Kremer)

Golf can be an expensive sport with club memberships, greens fees, balls, gloves, and more weighing heavily on the pocketbook. And of course, there are the golf clubs. A novice golfer can start with the basics as listed below (with approximate low-end prices):

  • Driver ($75)
  • Iron set ($200)
  • Putter ($60)
  • Bag ($60)

You can save money by buying a bagged set, which can be purchased for around $200.

These are just starting prices. The sky’s the limit if you have money to play with. If you want to add some bling to your game, consider gold-plated clubs. Here’s a look at some of the most expensive golf clubs on the market:

  • Five Start Set by Honma Golf. If you have an extra $5,000 sitting around, this club’s for you. Plan to wait two months for your hand-crafted club with 24-karat plating and Pt1000 platinum. The finished product is the painstaking handiwork of Japan’s most seasoned club makers known as the Takumi artisans.
  • Golden Putter by Michael Barth. This club will set you back nearly $3,000, but it will certainly glitz up the green with its 24-karat gold plating. Not fancy enough? You can have your club engraved and studded with gemstones of your choice. And lest you think that this club is too pretty to play well, note that its German manufacturers spent well over three years perfecting its performance capabilities.
  • Majesty Prestigio Super7 Driver by Maruman Golf. Retailing at over $2,000, this club bears a regal laser engraving on its face, which looks classy and also stabilizes the ball’s spin rate in wet weather. The club features a pure-grade titanium top and a thicker head. The face is designed to bring your center of gravity closer to the ground. A ladies’ version is available.

So the big question is, can a high-end club really improve your golf game? Those of us without $2,000 to spend on a club may never know, but there’s no doubt that gold plating can add class, finesse, and durability to many products—from jewelry to handguns to golf clubs and more. Visit GoldPlating.com to learn more about gold plating kits.

Product feature: Gold Smith Gold Plating Kit

At Gold Plating Services, we offer a number of starter kits to hobbyists and artist alike. Our affordable kits help people try their hand at gold plating without breaking the bank.

Gold Smith Gold Plating Kit

Our Gold Smith-Gold Plating Kit is the perfect choice for someone looking to do bench-top brush plating and fine select gold plating. This kit will allow you to plate most surfaces with the exception of aluminum, which must be treated using a number of complex processes before gold can be applied. Steel and chrome are additional exceptions. Defer to our Universal Plater to prepare your steel surface and our Universal Plater Chrome Edition for chrome surfaces. You can use these kits to lay down a different metal surface that will allow your item to be covered in gold.

The Gold Smith-Gold Plating Kit provides all of the components that you will need for fine select pen plating and brush plating 24K gold.

The kit includes:

  • Console/beaker tray. This tray enables a quick set-up and error-free connections.
  • AC wall voltage power converter
  • Application handle and lead (combination of fine select and brush plating)
  • Common lead
  • Type 316 stainless steel brush plating bit (also includes 2 sleeves for applying solution)
  • 1 ultra-fine high-density fine plating tip
  • 1 medium high-density fine select plating tip
  • 2 oz. 24K gold plating solution (to cover 300 square inches with a thickness of .25 microns)
  • Safety guidelines
  • Instruction manual (including full-color images)
  • Quick-start guide (comes with a polished coin to ensure success with your first attempt)

Gold plating will enable you to improve the appearance and functionality of items. It is an exciting art form with endless possibilities, and our high-quality, user-friendly kits are the perfect way to get started.

Gold Plating Guns

Perhaps the most iconic examples of gold-plated firearms in recent history came from Saddam Hussein’s treasures after the invasion of Iraq. The U.S. military found a trove of gold-plated AK-47s. The pictures of American service members brandishing the shiny guns were iconic.

Gold Plating Guns

(Pixabay / Norm_Bosworth)

Hussein wasn’t the only leader with a penchant for gold plating guns and weapons. Libyan rebels found a gold pistol and sniper rifle in the rubble of Muammar Gadaffi’s palaces several years ago. Mexican drug cartel leaders frequently show off gleaming, gold guns. Even Hitler had gold-plated firearms.

Gold-plated weapons aren’t just the domain of tyrants, of course. They are particularly trendy in America right now. People gold plate their guns for various reasons:

  • Appearance. Guns are a way to assert your right to self-defense. As such, they are a great medium for expressing personal style as well. There is a growing interest in making your gun uniquely yours with jewels and metallic finishes. If you’re going to defend yourself, you might as well look good in the process.
  • Corrosion resistance: Metals can tarnish and rust in humid conditions. Gold plating provides a protective finish to extend the life and luster of your firearm.
  • Wear resistance: Rust isn’t the only threat to a gun’s finish. Guns can get dinged and scratched over time, but gold plating can provide a sturdy barrier on the exterior of your firearm. Gold plating can help keep your gun in mint condition for years to come.

Some people choose to gold plate their entire gun. Others plate specific components of their gun using a localized process known as “pen plating.”

Your plating method will depend on the material that your gun is made of. For example, a steel or zinc alloy gun will be plated very differently than a plastic one. The material of your gun will help determine the correct electroplating solution. In some cases, you will need to remove an existing finish from your gun before gold plating it. In other cases, you will need to plate your gun in a different metal (such as nickel) before applying a gold layer to create a “diffusion barrier.”

There are two main types of plating: bath plating and brush plating. Bath plating enables you to plate an entire item at once with a uniform layer. Brush plating is a better choice if you only want to plate specific parts of your gun. Brush plating has a lower start-up cost than bath plating.

To get started, order a plating kit. Gold plating is a great way to impart style and durability to your firearms.

Are Precious Metals a Good Investment?

We love the shine and sparkle of metals when it comes to jewelry, but precious metals can also augment investment portfolios. Gold, silver, and platinum are three of the most common commodities to invest in. Each presents different advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a closer look.

(Pixabay / claus_indesign)

Gold

Uses: Jewelry, currency, dentistry, electronics

Gold stands out because of its staying power.

Gold doesn’t rust or corrode. It is also very malleable and an excellent conductor of heat and electrical current. Gold can be a safe investment because it is less vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the market. Because there’s so much gold in circulation above ground, the amount that is brought out of the ground doesn’t have as much power to affect supply and demand. Gold becomes particularly valuable when the financial market starts to look shaky. This can occur in times of war, political turmoil, and high inflation. Gold prices do fluctuate, but in times of fear and instability, gold is one of the surest bets in the investment world. Plus, gold plating jewelry never goes out of style.

Silver

Uses: Electrical appliances, medical devices, industrial items (bearings, etc.), electrical components, batteries, microcircuits

Silver is popular as an investment commodity, but it’s also indispensable as an industrial metal. Thus, it is more susceptible to market ups and downs. Spurred on by new industrial innovations, silver prices can shoot up dramatically. So silver may not be as safe as gold, but it can be a high-yield investment.

Platinum

Uses: Industrial (automotive catalysts), jewelry, computer technologies, chemical refining catalysts

Platinum is rarer than gold. In fact, most of it comes from just two countries: South Africa and Russia. On the one hand, this paucity can make platinum more valuable than other metals such as gold. On the other hand, it can lead to back-door trading practices and trafficking that can falsely inflate platinum prices. And while platinum is in high demand right now due to the key role it plays in the auto industry, that could change. Environmentally-conscious legislation is pushing for more catalytic converters because they help reduce harmful emissions. Since platinum is the material of choice for these converters, the future looks bright. However, some automakers are beginning to build the converters from palladium because it’s cheaper. Thus, platinum can yield a great return, but it may be a risky choice in the future.

Many savvy investors have benefited from buying into precious metals. Know your investment goals before taking the plunge, and monitor your returns closely. If done wisely, investing in precious metals can be a great way to diversify your portfolio.

The Evolution of Electroplating

We are surrounded by electroplated items, including jewelry, bathroom faucets, car parts, kitchen gas burners, and wheel rims. Electroplating is also at work in ways we can’t see. The electronics industry depends heavily on electroplating. Electroplated components fuel the devices we depend on. They improve corrosion resistance, lengthen a product’s life span, enhance electrical conductivity, and increase the ability of the substrate to be soldered.

Evolution of Electroplating

(Pixabay / Republica)

But for as much as our modern lives depend on electroplating, few of us know the history of the process. In England, John Wright and Henry and George Elkington got the first patent for gold and silver electroplating in 1840. The underpinnings of the process were engineered several decades earlier by a chemist from Italy named Luigi Brugnatelli. He was a good buddy of Alessandro Volta, for whom the volt is named. Volta was an Italian physicist whose work led to the first electric battery and the advent of continuous current. Brugnatelli worked with voltaic electricity, experimenting with metal plating solutions. He was ultimately able to plate silver components with a gold solution. We might have heard more about Brugnatelli if he hadn’t run afoul of the French Academy of Sciences. The prominent Academy blackballed Brugnatelli and made sure that none of his research made it to publication. As a result, his brilliant findings fell into obscurity.

With Brugnatelli’s research sidelined, people limped along with less effective coating methods. One of the processes, known as fire gilding, used a mercury mixture and gold leaf to coat metal objects, but it proved to be very dangerous to execute.

By the late 1830s, scientists in Great Britain conducted research that got them to where Brugnatelli had left off. As a result, they were able to coat printing press plates in copper. In Russia, another scientist was independently discovering a similar process. Wright and the Elkington cousins improved upon these findings and were able to roll out their silver and gold electroplating for a patent.

The process caught on in high society, and it became a trend to electroplate silverware, serving pieces, and home décor items. Russians used the process to gold plate cathedral domes and religious statues.

Understanding of chemistry expanded, and the electroplating process extended to a variety of metals including zinc, brass, tin, and nickel. The forward march of industry made electroplating a key player in manufacturing processes, but it was the electronics industry that truly elevated electroplating beginning in the 1970s.

As we have come to understand more about electrochemistry, we have learned to refine the electroplating process. We can now exact great control over the thickness of the plating, the performance of different finishes, and the function of various types of electroplating. We can also draw on exotic elements such as platinum and ruthenium, which enable new capabilities for electronics. Environmental contamination has been a significant issue with the increase of electroplating, but wastewater recycling is helping to reduce the effect of harmful chemicals.

New technologies continue to increase the functionality and relevance of electroplating for electronics, medicine, telecommunication, and art. The future is bright with limitless applications for the evolving process.

 

 

You might have the desire to keep the things you possess such as watch, manacle, chain and the like because it plays significant value in your life. It may be a gift from your parents, siblings or partners and you can’t afford to see it unfixed. There is a way how to repair and keep such precious gift—that is through the use of electroplating.

The History and Evolution of Electroplating [infographic]

Electroplating Reduces Corrosion

Most of us have experienced the frustration of leaving a bike, tool, or piece of jewelry outside where it is subject to humidity and rain. In time, the metal corrodes, and you’re left with a rusty version of your original item. This process is called corrosion.

Electroplating Reduces Corrosion

(Pixabay / moshehar)

When corrosion attacks a personal item that you value, it can be a great inconvenience. But corrosion can be much more insidious when it plays out on a grand scale. It can cause buildings and bridges to collapse and oil pipelines to rupture. It can also lead to leaks in chemical plants and plumbing systems. When electrical contacts corrode, fires can occur.

The corrosion process is often thought of as the opposite of electroplating. Both start with a base metal. In corrosion, the base metal will lose electrons. With the electroplating process, however, the base metal will gain electrons.

Here’s a closer look at the two processes:

Electroplating. With electroplating, a negatively charged base metal is covered with another metal that is positively charged. Electroplating does not happen organically. It requires a power supply. It allows manufacturers to build products with affordable base metals, then coat them with high-quality metals. If they were to make a product that consisted only of the high-quality metals, they would end up spending a lot more money. Manufacturers use electroplating to:

  • Minimize corrosion
  • Improve aesthetics
  • Support conductivity
  • Eliminate friction
  • Make an object harder
  • Make an object less susceptible to wear and tear

Corrosion. Unlike with electroplating, corrosion does not require a power supply. The corrosion process is electrochemical in nature. It starts with the outer layers of metal. Electrons that once adhered to the substrate are wooed away by oxygen and other substances in the air and water. As the oxygen gains electrons, it develops an oxide and compromises the metal.

Some substrates are more resistant to corrosion than others. These are called inert or cathodic materials. The most inert materials include gold, graphite, platinum, silver, and titanium. Materials that are more susceptible to corrosion are called active or anodic. These include stainless steel, iron and steel, aluminum alloys, and cadmium. Bronze, copper, and nickel lie somewhere in the middle. Through the process of electroplating, anodic materials can be coated with cathodic materials, resulting in fewer problems with corrosion.

Top-producing Gold Countries

We often think of gold in terms of jewelry and other decorative items that are rich in aesthetic value. Gold is also a key part of financial portfolios and is used in electronics, dentistry, nanotechnology, and other industries.

Top-producing Gold Countries

(Pixabay / communicationcy)

The world’s top 10 producers of gold are as follows:

  1. China
  2. Australia
  3. Russia
  4. United States
  5. Canada
  6. South Africa
  7. Peru
  8. Uzbekistan
  9. Mexico
  10. Ghana

This list speaks, to some degree, to the availability of gold in countries, but there’s often more to the stratification than that. For example, China has always been rich in gold deposits, but it wasn’t until 2012 that the country became the world’s largest producer of the precious metal. A couple of factors influenced this ascent. First, the government eased restrictions on purchasing gold. In addition, the country’s improving economy drove up the demand for the metal.

While gold production was ramping up in China, it was declining in South Africa, which had been one of the world’s biggest gold producers in 1990. One of the obvious reasons for the decline was that due to heavy mining, there were fewer deposits of the metal. However, there were other issues at play as well. The demand for gold in the country decreased even as the price of electricity and wages were increasing. In essence, it was becoming more expensive than ever to retrieve gold from the earth’s surface. In addition, the government failed to invest in technology to aid the industry. Thus, miners had to reach out to high-priced public corporations for support.

The “top 10” list will undoubtedly continue to change as supply, demand, national policy, the economic forecast, and other variables continue to alter the world’s gold market.

The Benefits of Automotive Plating

Did you know that vehicle corrosion costs Americans over $23 billion per year? It used to be that car rust was only a problem if you lived close to the coast where the sea salt in the air hastened the development of rust. Today, though, corrosion is also common in snowy areas of the country due to the heavy use of de-icing materials on roads.

Benefits of Automotive Plating

(Pixabay / melkhagelslag)

And road de-icers aren’t the only problem. Rust can also be caused by:

  • Dust and dirt
  • Acid rain
  • Tree sap
  • Bird excrement

Once rust gets started, it can spread fast. It begins by eating away at the paint job. Unchecked, the rust can bore through the body of the car. This exterior damage will compromise your car’s appearance, but if the rust makes it into the inner workings of your vehicle, you’ll have a much bigger problem on your hands. Rust can affect the brakes and the fuel and electrical systems. You may not even realize that rust is hurting your car’s operating systems until your vehicle stops functioning properly and your repair bill is sky high.

So how do you protect your car? You can start by washing it once a week to remove debris that could compromise your car’s finish. You can also electroplate your car to form a shield of protection that will keep corrosion at bay.

Automotive Plating

With electroplating, an electrical current is used to catalyze a reaction that leaves a thin, protective metal coating on the surface of your car. Here are just a few advantages of metal plating:

  • Imparts a brilliant shine to your car’s exterior.
  • Protects your car from fast-spreading corrosion, resulting in lower maintenance costs and a longer life for your vehicle.
  • Keeps rust from infiltrating the car’s operating systems.
  • Metallizes plastic parts that are now commonly used for grills, bumpers, and wheel rims. Electroplating gives these parts a metallic shine and makes them stiffer and more durable.

Electroplating your automobile or gold plating car parts can pay for itself many times over by improving the appearance and longevity of your car.