Fun Stuff: Electroplating a Quarter

May 29, 2012

Home News

Renovations will have to wait. We’ve spent the better part of the week with science lab experiments for my son’s science course and beating back the weeds to cultivate a garden. More on that later. For now, I wanted to share a neat little experiment we did. Since wiring the house, the boys and I have had lots of fun with electrical gadgets. We rigged up a way to electroplate a quarter. His lab assignment was to electroplate a spoon using a lantern battery. I didn’t have any extra spoons and we had no lantern battery, so we decided to use a quarter and an old cell phone charger power adapter. Fun!

At first we tried a DC battery, but that didn’t have enough juice.

electrolyte1

We also didn’t have a strip of copper, so we just bundled a bunch of old leftover copper wiring from when we wired the kitchen electric. If you look carefully in the photo, the quarter is bubbling. We’d cut off the adapter end of the power adapter and spliced the wires. We then taped one wire to the quarter with black electrical tape and connected the other end of the wire to the copper wires.

electrolyte2

The quarter was electroplated with the copper! The wiring looks dull because the copper hopped from the wires to the quarter.

electrolyte3

You can see that the area that held the tape didn’t get plated.

electrolyte4

Recipe:
White vinegar
Table salt
Power source
Copper strip or wires
Quarter
Black electrical tape

I wonder what’s next. I do know there are more electricity experiments coming up. Fun!

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