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Copper Plating


Copper Plating most often has a 'hidden' role in metal finishing. In decorative applications it is usual to apply copper and nickel layers beneath the final finish of chrome, gold, silver or other final finish. It is of course possible to copper plate an item as a final finish if desired.


Although not often used as a final finish, copper plays an important role in many applications and is very versatile. Copper plating's role as an underlying coating in the decorative finishing cycle is to 'seal' the substrate and provide for good 'adhesion' of the plating to the substrate. Copper can also be used to "re–build" damaged or pitted surfaces – providing a new working surface for the finisher. On it's own, copper plating can deliver an alternative look for decorative items and can be blackened, polished, or a combination of both for a 'bronzed' look.

Colour & Aesthetics:

Copper is 'salmon pink' in colour when highly polished and can look anything from brown to red or even black when tarnished or treated. Other variations can be achieved such as the use of vinegar to create a green, powdery 'verde gris' surface. In a high polished condition copper gives off a bright but warm feel and when tarnished can add to the more 'rustic appeal' of a setting. The bright, salmon pink colour of highly polished copper can be maintained, without tarnishing, with the application of clear "E–coat" (see separate information sheet)


Copper plating will be used in almost all decorative plating processes involving the standard 'copper, nickel, chrome' (or copper, nickel, gold) process. For industrial applications copper can play a role in protecting substrates by 'sealing' the substrate or behaving as a 'sacrificial' coating to the substrate.

Substrates suited to this coating:

Can be applied over most metal substrates. An "electro–less" form of copper plating can be used for the successful electroplating of PLASTIC substrates (see Plating on Plastics Info sheet).

Design Cautions:

As this is an electrolytic process it is necessary to use jigging, racking or wiring to provide for electrical current conductivity. Please consult your plating adviser prior to finalising design if you intend using this finishing process in your product manufacture.
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Copyright © 2009, A Class Metal Finishers Pty Ltd. 6 Waddikee Rd, Lonsdale, South Australia, 5160. Telephone (+ 61 8 8384 4331) Email:
Specialising in Copper, Nickel & Chrome Plating, Gold Plating, Silver Plating, Tin Plating, Electroless Nickel, Plating on Plastic (ABS) and Metal Polishing

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