Thermoelectric cooling

Thermoelectric cooling uses the Peltier effect to create a heat flux between the junction of two different types of materials. A Peltier cooler, heater, or thermoelectric heat pump is a solid-state active heat pump which transfers heat from one side of the device to the other side against the temperature gradient (from cold to hot), with consumption of electrical energy. Such an instrument is also called a Peltier device, Peltier heat pump, solid state refrigerator, or thermoelectric cooler (TEC). The Peltier device is a heat pump: When DC current runs through it, heat is moved from one side to the other. Therefore it can be used either for heating or for cooling (refrigeration), although in practice the main application is cooling. It can also be used as a temperature controller that either heats or cools.
Thermoelectric effect

Principles Applications Thermoelectric materials · Thermocouple · Thermopile · Thermoelectric cooling ·

As a refrigeration technology, it is far less common than vapor-compression refrigeration. The main advantages of a Thermoelectric generator · Peltier cooler (compared to a vapor-compression Radioisotope thermoelectric generator refrigerator) are its lack of moving parts or circulating liquid, and its small size and flexible shape (form factor). Its main disadvantage is that it cannot simultaneously have low cost and high power efficiency. Many researchers and companies are trying to develop Peltier coolers that are both cheap and efficient. (See Thermoelectric materials.) A Peltier cooler is the opposite of a thermoelectric generator. In a Peltier cooler, electric power is used to generate a temperature difference between the two sides of the device; while in a thermoelectric generator, a temperature difference between the two sides is used to generate electric power. The operation of both is closely related (both are manifestations of the thermoelectric effect), and therefore the devices are generally constructed from similar materials using similar designs.

Performance

Peltier element (16x16 mm) Peltier element schematic. Thermoelectric legs are thermally in parallel and electrically in series.

keep drinks chilled. Peltier elements are a common component in thermal cyclers. Peltier devices are commonly used in camping and portable coolers and for cooling electronic components and small instruments. A USB powered beverage cooler Main article: Thermoelectric effect Thermoelectric coolers rely on the thermoelectric effect. and Peltier electrical parameters. Due to the relatively low efficiency. a common molecular biological technique which requires the rapid heating and cooling of the reaction mixture for denaturation. where the wavelength of a laser or a component is highly dependent on temperature. ports providing more than 500mA fall out of the standard for USB and thus can be considered proprietary connections). The available power from a USB socket is very limited by design . or to maintain stable functioning when overclocking. On digital photos taken at low light these occur as speckles (or "pixel noise"). a maximum of 500 mA at 5 VDC (Although highpower ports providing 1 amp or more do exist. Photon detectors such as CCDs in astronomical telescopes or very high-end digital cameras are often cooled down with Peltier elements. When a current is run through an appropriately-configured thermoelectric device. The cooling effect of Peltier heat pumps can also be used to extract water from the air in dehumidifiers. thermoelectric cooling is generally only used in environments where the solid state nature (no moving parts. hot and cold side heat exchanger (heat sink) performance. In fiber optic applications. Some electronic equipment intended for military use in the field is thermoelectrically cooled. some can even keep drinks warm. used for the synthesis of DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Peltier coolers are used along with a thermistor in a feedback loop to maintain a constant temperature and thereby stabilize the wavelength of the device. maintenance-free) outweighs pure efficiency. primer annealing and enzymatic synthesis cycles. . A dark count occurs when a pixel generates an electron because of a thermal fluctuation rather than because it has received a photon. Peltier module (thermopile) geometry. Peltier (thermoelectric) cooler performance is a function of ambient temperature. This reduces dark counts due to thermal noise.40–60% achieved by conventional compression cycle systems (reverse Rankine systems using compression/expansion). so USB TEC devices are considered quite limited. heat is transported from one side of the device to the other. A Peltier cooler with a heat sink or waterblock can cool a chip to well below ambient temperature. thermal load. The effect is used in satellites and spacecraft to counter the effect of direct sunlight on one side of a craft by dissipating the heat over the cold shaded side. whereupon the heat is dissipated by thermal radiation into space. Thermoelectric coolers can be used to cool computer components to keep temperatures within design limits without the noise of a fan.

competitor technology to thermoelectric cooling .the creation of an electric field in a crystal after uniform heating Thermionic emission Thermoelectrics Thermoelectricity Thermopower Thermotunnel cooling Thermoacoustics .See also Bismuth telluride. an efficient thermoelectric material Freezer H 2 Ceramic cooling .a hybrid combination of thermoelectric and liquid cooling Heat transfer Joule's law Pyroelectric effect .

Thomson effect) [hide] · Thermoelectric effect (Seebeck effect. see thermoelectric materials. the Seebeck effect. though it is not generally termed a thermoelectric effect (and it is usually regarded as being a loss mechanism due to non-ideality in thermoelectric devices). charge carriers). hence. thermoelectric devices make very convenient temperature controllers. and thermoelectric cooling. or to heat them or cook them. Because the direction of heating and cooling is determined by the polarity of the applied voltage. thermoelectric generator. You can assist by editing it. the Peltier effect. the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Peltier effect) This article may require copy editing for grammar. the term thermoelectric effect or thermoelectricity encompasses three separately identified effects. and the Thomson effect. it creates a temperature difference (known as the Peltier effect). to diffuse from the hot side to the cold side. the heat that is generated whenever a voltage is applied across a resistive material.[1] whereas Joule heating is not. For applications of the thermoelectric effect. Thermoelectric effect Principles Peltier effect. (September 2010) This page is about the thermoelectric effect as a physical phenomenon. the thermally induced current. A thermoelectric device creates a voltage when there is a different temperature on each side. to measure temperature. is somewhat related. an applied temperature gradient causes charged carriers in the material. style. similar to a classical gas that expands when heated. whether they are electrons or electron holes. Conversely when a voltage is applied to it.Search Thermoelectric effect From Wikipedia. . thermoelectric effect may also be called the Peltier–Seebeck effect. Thermopower (Seebeck coefficient) · Ettingshausen effect · Nernst effect Applications v· d· e [show] Traditionally. In many textbooks. Joule heating. At atomic scale (specifically. The thermoelectric effect is the direct conversion of temperature differences to electric voltage and vice versa. tone. or spelling. cohesion. This separation derives from the independent discoveries of French physicist Jean Charles Athanase Peltier and Estonian-German physicist Thomas Johann Seebeck. The Peltier–Seebeck and Thomson effects can in principle be thermodynamically reversible. This effect can be used to generate electricity. to cool objects.

This is because the metals respond differently to the temperature difference. however. Seebeck. The voltage created is of the order of several microvolts per kelvin difference. copper-constantan. has a Seebeck coefficient of 41 microvolts per kelvin at room temperature.Seebeck effect The Seebeck effect is the conversion of temperature differences directly into electricity. The effect is that a voltage. thinking that the two metals became magnetically polarized by the temperature gradient. the thermoelectric EMF. at this time did not recognize there was an electric current involved. The Danish physicist Hans Christian Ørsted played a vital role in explaining and conceiving the term "thermoelectricity". In the circuit: (which can be in several different configurations and be governed by the same equations). One such combination. so he called the phenomenon the thermomagnetic effect. This causes a continuous current in the conductors if they form a complete loop. is created in the presence of a temperature difference between two different metals or semiconductors. the voltage developed can be derived from: . which creates a current loop. which produces a magnetic field. [edit] Seebeck discovered that a compass needle would be deflected when a closed loop was formed of two metals joined in two places with a temperature difference between the junctions.

This is also the principle at work behind thermoelectric generators (such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators or RTGs) which are used for creating power from heat differentials. whether they are electrons or holes. material. Values in the hundreds of μV/K. represented by S (or sometimes by α). Only an increase in the temperature difference can resume a buildup of more charge carriers on the cold side and thus lead to an increase in the thermoelectric voltage. to diffuse from the hot side to the cold side. thermoelectric power. the partial molar electronic entropy is said to equal the absolute thermoelectric power multiplied by the negative of Faraday's constant. Since a separation of charges also creates an electric potential. is held in contact with it. To be more specific. Thermopower [edit] The thermopower. similar to a classical gas that expands when heated. not the electric power. This is known as thermoelectric alloy sorting. In contrast. If the Seebeck coefficients are effectively constant for the measured temperature range. the above formula can be approximated as: The Seebeck effect is commonly used in a device called a thermocouple (because it is made from a coupling or junction of materials. Several thermocouples connected in series are called a thermopile. The thermopower has units of (V/K). Incidentally the thermopower also measures the entropy per charge carrier in the material. are typical of good thermoelectric materials. Typically metals have small thermopowers because most have half-filled bands. semiconductors can be doped with excess electrons or holes. which is sometimes constructed in order to increase the output voltage since the voltage induced over each individual couple is small. and T1 and T2 are the temperatures of the two junctions. or Seebeck coefficient of a material measures the magnitude of an induced thermoelectric voltage in response to a temperature difference across that material. The Seebeck coefficients are non-linear as a function of temperature. The term thermopower is a misnomer since it measures the voltage or electric field induced in response to a temperature difference. though in practice it is more common to use microvolts per kelvin. kept at a constant temperature. and depend on the conductors' absolute temperature. A metal of unknown composition can be classified by its thermoelectric effect if a metallic probe of known composition. The sign of the thermopower can determine which charged carriers dominate the electric transport in . the buildup of charged carriers onto the cold side eventually ceases at some maximum value since there exists an equal amount of charged carriers drifting back to the hot side as a result of the electric field at equilibrium. Electrons (negative charges) and holes (positive charges) both contribute to the induced thermoelectric voltage thus canceling each other's contribution to that voltage and making it small. usually metals) to measure a temperature difference directly or to measure an absolute temperature by setting one end to a known temperature. depends on the material's temperature and crystal structure. negative or positive.[2] The thermopower of a material. The Seebeck effect is due to two effects: charge carrier diffusion and phonon drag (described below). and thus can have large positive or negative values of the thermopower depending on the charge of the excess carriers. Industrial quality control instruments use this Seebeck effect to identify metal alloys. Mobile charged carriers migrating to the cold side leave behind their oppositely charged and immobile nuclei at the hot side thus giving rise to a thermoelectric voltage (thermoelectric refers to the fact that the voltage is created by a temperature difference).SA and SB are the Seebeck coefficients (also called thermoelectric power or thermopower) of the metals A and B as a function of temperature. An applied temperature difference causes charged carriers in the material. and molecular structure.

In addition. by the In practice one rarely measures the absolute thermopower of the material of interest. If the scattering is energy dependent. there is a constant diffusion of carriers. The movement of heat (in the form of hot charge carriers) from one end to the other is called a heat current.both metals and semiconductors. Ideally one would want very large thermopower values since only a small amount of heat is then necessary to create a large voltage. In a system where both ends are kept at a constant temperature difference (a constant heat current from one end to the other). The measured thermopower is then a contribution from both and can be written as: Superconductors have zero thermopower since the charged carriers produce no entropy. This creates a higher density of carriers at one end of the material. ions in ionic conductors) will diffuse when one end of a conductor is at a different temperature to the other. This voltage can then be used to provide power. If the rate of diffusion of hot and cold carriers in opposite directions were equal. this process would result in heat being distributed evenly throughout the conductor (see heat transfer). As charge carriers are moving. then the thermopower of a material is defined (approximately) [3] as: and a thermoelectric voltage ΔV is seen at the terminals. a measurement of the Thomson coefficient. However. This allows a direct measurement of the absolute thermopower of the material of interest. A larger induced thermoelectric voltage for a given temperature gradient will lead to a larger efficiency. Cold carriers diffuse from the cold end to the hot end for the same reason. Charge-carrier diffusion [edit] Charge carriers in the materials (electrons in metals. This can also be written in relation to the electric field E and the temperature gradient approximate [3] equation: . the diffusing charges are scattered by impurities. and lattice vibrations (phonons). If the conductor were left to reach thermodynamic equilibrium. imperfections. This is because electrodes attached to a voltmeter must be placed onto the material in order to measure the thermoelectric voltage. there would be no net change in charge. it is also an electric current. since it is the thermopower of the entire thermocouple as well. Therefore the measured thermopower includes a contribution from the thermopower of the material of interest and the material of the measurement electrodes. If the temperature difference ΔT between the two ends of a material is small. the hot and cold carriers will diffuse at different rates. Hot carriers diffuse from the hot end to the cold end. electrons and holes in semiconductors. of a material can also yield the thermopower through the relation: The thermopower is an important material parameter that determines the efficiency of a thermoelectric material. since there is a lower density of hot carriers at the cold end of the conductor. The temperature gradient then also typically induces a thermoelectric voltage across one leg of the measurement electrodes. μ . and the distance between the positive and .

as in the figure to the left below. thus creating a current through the circuit. This electric field. both removing heat from one side of the device. and structural changes (which often vary themselves with temperature and electric field). Electrons in the n-type element will move opposite the direction of current and holes in the p-type element will move in the direction of current. thus converting the thermal energy into electrical energy. This is the Peltier effect. imperfections. and an equilibrium is reached where the net number of carriers diffusing in one direction is canceled by the net number of carriers moving in the opposite direction from the electrostatic field. Charge flows through the n-type element. however. an electrostatic voltage. Early thermocouples were metallic. the thermoelectric device may function as a power generator. the phonons will tend to push the electrons to one end of the material. they move against the thermal gradient. and the thermopower of a material is a collection of many different effects. described below.negative charges produces a potential difference. opposes the uneven scattering of carriers. Semiconductor junctions are especially common in power generation devices. but many more recently developed thermoelectric devices are made from alternating p-type and n-type semiconductor elements connected by metallic interconnects as pictured in the figures below. and at higher temperatures they tend to lose momentum in phonon-phonon scattering instead of phonon-electron scattering. They lose momentum by interacting with electrons (or other carriers) and imperfections in the crystal. This happens for where θ D is the Debye temperature. losing momentum in the process. the thermoelectric device may act as a cooler. This means the thermopower of a material depends greatly on impurities. This contribution is most important in the temperature region where phonon-electron scattering is predominant. At lower temperatures there are fewer phonons available for drag. while metallic junctions are more common in temperature measurement. If a heat source is provided. Phonon drag Main article: Phonon drag [edit] Phonons are not always in local thermal equilibrium. If the phonon-electron interaction is predominant. crosses a metallic interconnect. The heat source will drive electrons in the n-type element toward the cooler region. Holes in the p-type element will then flow in the direction of the current. This contributes to the already present thermoelectric field. The current can then be used to power a load. If a power source is provided. and passes into the p-type element. . as in the figure to the right below.

the free encyclopedia This region of the thermopower-versus-temperature function is highly variable under a magnetic field. heat is evolved at the upper junction (at T2 ). The first term ρ J² is simply the Joule heating. Thomson effect [edit] The Thomson effect was predicted and subsequently experimentally observed by William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) in 1851. and n-type silicon is typically negative. Another way to understand how this effect could cool a junction is to note that when electrons flow from a region of high density to a region of low density. The individual couples can be connected in series to enhance the effect. The Peltier coefficients represent how much heat current is carried per unit charge through a given material. Any current-carrying conductor (except for a superconductor). Peltier cooling is also called thermo-electric cooling (TEC). reversing the polarity will change the direction of transfer and thus the sign of the heat absorbed/evolved. The Peltier heat absorbed by the lower junction per unit time. Peltier effect [edit] The Peltier (pronounced /ˈpɛltjeɪ/) effect bears the name of Jean-Charles Peltier. depending on the sign of the current. which is not reversible. a French physicist who in 1834 discovered the calorific effect of an electric current at the junction of two different metals. depending on the material. When a current is made to flow through the circuit. . The second term is the Thomson heat. A Peltier cooler/heater or thermoelectric heat pump is a solid-state active heat pump which transfers heat from one side of the device to the other. Since charge current must be continuous across a junction. with a temperature difference between two points. This causes a non-zero divergence at the junction and so heat must accumulate or deplete there. The carriers are attempting to return to the electron equilibrium that existed before the current was applied by absorbing energy at one connector and releasing it at the other. and Π A and Π B are the coefficients of each material. the associated heat flow will develop a discontinuity if Π A and Π B are different. p-type silicon typically has a positive Peltier coefficient (though not above ~550 K). this "expansion" causes cooling (as with an ideal gas). will either absorb or emit heat. An interesting consequence of this effect is that the direction of heat transfer is controlled by the polarity of the current. which changes sign when J changes direction. heat production per unit volume is: where ρ is the resistivity of the material dT/dx is the temperature gradient along the wire μ is the Thomson coefficient.Wikipedia. is equal to where π is the Peltier coefficient Π AB of the entire thermocouple.Thermoelectric effect . and absorbed at the lower junction (at T1 ). It describes the heating or cooling of a current-carrying conductor with a temperature gradient. If a current density J is passed through a homogeneous conductor.

κ is the thermal conductivity. However. relating the three thermoelectric coefficients. the Thomson relations. there is no direct experimental method to determine an absolute Seebeck coefficient (i. when current moves from the hotter end to the colder end. one can then integrate the Thomson coefficient over the temperature range using the Kelvin relations to determine the absolute (i. and iron. also known as the Kelvin relations (see below).Thermoelectric effect . this need only be done for one material. This is called the negative Thomson effect. and others were introducing and refining the concept of entropy. as mentioned elsewhere in this article there are two equations. and S is the Seebeck coefficient . If the Thomson coefficient of a material is measured over a wide temperature range. there is an absorption of heat.[4] Unlike lead. including temperatures close to zero. thermopower) or absolute Peltier coefficient for an individual material. now called the Thomson or Kelvin relationships. the free encyclopedia In metals such as zinc and copper. In 1854 Thomson found two relationships. This occurred at about the time that Clausius. In metals such as cobalt. it is moving from a high to a low potential. Therefore. The Thomson coefficient is unique among the three main thermoelectric coefficients because it is the only thermoelectric coefficient directly measurable for individual materials. Thomson.Wikipedia. This is called the positive Thomson effect. These are related to the Thomson coefficient μ by the first Thomson relation Thomson's theoretical treatment of thermoelectricity is remarkable in the fact that it is probably the first attempt to develop a reasonable theory of irreversible thermodynamics (non-equilibrium thermodynamics). While it is true that the thermoelectric coefficients of lead are small. since all other values can be determined by measuring pairwise Seebeck coefficients in thermocouples containing the reference material and then adding back the absolute thermoelecric power (thermopower) of the reference material. they are in general non-zero. single-material) values for the Peltier and Seebeck coefficients. nickel. which have a hotter end at a higher potential and a cooler end at a lower potential. Thus. so there is an evolution of heat. Figure of merit The figure of merit for thermoelectric devices is defined as . The Thomson coefficient of lead has been measured over a wide temperature range and has been integrated to calculate the absolute thermoelectric power (thermopower) of lead as a function of temperature. between the corresponding coefficients. only one can be considered unique. The Peltier and Seebeck coefficients can only be determined for pairs of materials. which have a cooler end at a higher potential and a hotter end at a lower potential. the Peltier coefficient Π and Seebeck coefficient S are related by the second Thomson relation which predicted the Thomson effect before it was actually formalized. The absolute temperature T. when current moves from the hotter end to the colder end. It is commonly asserted that lead has a zero Thomson effect.e. [edit] where σ is the electrical conductivity. the thermoelectric coefficients of all known superconductors are zero. In principle. The Thomson relationships [edit] The Seebeck effect is a combination of the Peltier and Thomson effects. it is moving from a low to a high potential.e.

Greater values of ZT indicate greater thermodynamic efficiency. and is defined as where ρ is the electrical resistivity. For more information see Automotive Thermoelectric Generators. Space probes often use Radioisotope thermoelectric generators. This is potentially an enormous market. with no moving parts. only about onesixth the value of traditional vapor-compression refrigerators. and [edit] where TH is the temperature at the hot junction and TC is the temperature at the surface being is the modified dimensionless figure of merit which now takes into consideration the cooled. the best reported ZT values have been in the 2–3 range. and values of at least the 3–4 range are considered to be essential for thermoelectrics to compete with mechanical generation and refrigeration in efficiency. and harvesting it could increase fuel efficiency.3 to 0.or thermopower (conventionally in μV/K).[8] Uses See also: Thermoelectric materials [edit] Seebeck effect Main article: Thermoelectric generator [edit] The Seebeck effect can be used to turn any heat source into electrical power.6. but less bulky. since thermoelectric devices are still inherently heat engines. To date. Any power plant produces waste heat. is the average temperature between the hot and cold surfaces. defined as . subject to certain provisions. . These devices.and p-type semiconducting thermoelectric materials. Device efficiency The efficiency of a thermoelectric device for electricity generation is given by η. called thermoelectric generators (or "thermogenerators") function like a heat engine. It is worthwhile to note that the efficiency of a thermoelectric device is limited by the Carnot efficiency (hence the TH and TC terms in Φmax ). and the subscripts n and p denote properties related to the n. Values of ZT=1 are considered good. particularly the requirement that the two materials of the couple have similar Z values. thermoelectric capacity of both thermoelectric materials being used in the power generating device. The COP of current commercial thermoelectric refrigerators ranges from 0. and typically more expensive and less efficient. especially by manipulating the nanostructure of the materials. This is more commonly expressed as the dimensionless figure of merit ZT by multiplying it with the average temperature ( (T 2 + T 1 ) / 2 ). which can be used to generate additional power using a thermoelectric generator (a form of energy recycling).[5][6][7] Much research in thermoelectric materials has focused on increasing the Seebeck coefficient and reducing the thermal conductivity. Automobiles also produce waste heat. ZT is therefore a very convenient figure for comparing the potential efficiency of devices using different materials. respectively.

they do not directly measure temperature. The temperature of the voltmeter. Heat transfer Joule's laws Pyroelectricity – the creation of an electric field in a crystal after uniform heating Spintronics Thermionic emission Thermoacoustic refrigeration Thermodiffusion Thermoelectric cooling Thermoelectricity Thermoelectric generator Thermopile Thermopower . Thermocouples and thermopiles are commonly used to measure temperatures. More precisely. Several patents about the use of thermoelectric devices in tandem with solar cells have been filed. can be measured separately using "cold junction compensation" techniques. usually the same as room temperature. they measure temperature differences between the probe and the voltmeter at the other end of the wires. while the low frequency heat energy is wasted. For more information see Peltier cooler. The idea is to increase the efficiency of the combined solar/thermoelectric system to convert the solar radiation into useful electricity. The Peltier effect can be used to create a refrigerator which is compact and has no circulating fluid or moving parts.Solar cells use only the high frequency part of the radiation. They use the Seebeck effect.

The rate at which the anode is dissolved is equal to the rate at which the cathode is plated. In these techniques. oxidizing the metal atoms that comprise it and allowing them to dissolve in the solution. In one technique.) to a surface that otherwise lacks that property. such that they "plate out" onto the cathode. vis-a-vis the current flowing through the circuit. At the cathode. copper electroplating machine for layering PCBs The process used in electroplating is called electrodeposition.Electroplating Electroplating is a plating process in which metal ions in a solution are moved by an electric field to coat an electrode.[1] Other electroplating processes may use a nonconsumable anode such as lead. Both components are immersed in a solution called an electrolyte containing one or more dissolved metal salts as well as other ions that permit the flow of electricity. such as a metal. ions of the metal to be plated must be periodically replenished in the bath as they are drawn out of the solution. In this manner. It is analogous to a galvanic cell acting in reverse. the dissolved metal ions in the electrolyte solution are reduced at the interface between the solution and the cathode. A power supply supplies a direct current to the anode. Another application uses electroplating to build up thickness on undersized parts. aesthetic qualities.[2] Process . corrosion protection.g. the anode is made of the metal to be plated on the part. The part to be plated is the cathode of the circuit. The process uses electrical current to reduce cations of a desired material from a solution and coat a conductive object with a thin layer of the material. the ions in the electrolyte bath are continuously replenished by the anode. etc.. abrasion and wear resistance. lubricity. Electroplating is primarily used for depositing a layer of material to bestow a desired property (e.

These cations associate with the anions in the solution. help to maintain a constant metal ion level and contribute to conductivity. lacquers. This density can vary over the surface of a part. etc. in an acid solution. the Cu2+ is reduced to metallic copper by gaining two electrons. One example of this situation is the poor adhesion of electrolytic nickel on zinc alloys.in the solution to form copper sulfate. plating adherence. Many plating baths include cyanides of other metals (e. When the external power supply is switched on. The cations are reduced at the cathode to deposit in the metallic. [3] Strike Initially. Typical stop-offs include tape. Electroplating of a metal (Me) with copper in a copper sulfate bath. holes.[2] Current density The current density (current of the electroplating current divided by the surface area of the part) in this process strongly influences the deposition rate. which has good adherence to both. A strike uses a high current density and a bath with a low ion concentration. stop-offs are applied to prevent the bath from coming in contact with the substrate. non-metal chemicals such as carbonates and phosphates may be added to increase conductivity. potassium cyanide) in addition to cyanides of the metal to be deposited. This serves as a foundation for subsequent plating processes.. If it is desirable to plate one type of deposit onto a metal to improve corrosion resistance but this metal has inherently poor adhesion to the substrate. The higher the current density. . a strike can be first deposited that is compatible with both. For example. in which case a copper strike is used. some alloys can be electrodeposited. a special plating deposit called a "strike" or "flash" may be used to form a very thin (typically less than 0. the faster the deposition rate will be.1 micrometer thick) plating with high quality and good adherence to the substrate. Additionally. the metal at the anode is oxidized from the zero valence state to form cations with a positive charge. bores. notably brass and solder.. The plating is most commonly a single metallic element. At the cathode.g. The process is slow. and plating quality. foil. The striking method is also used in combination with the plating of different metals. and the cathode (article to be plated) is connected to the negative terminal. not an alloy. The anode is connected to the positive terminal of the supply. The Cu2+ associates with the anion SO42. so more efficient plating processes are used once the desired strike thickness is obtained. copper is oxidized at the anode to Cu2+ by losing two electrons.The anode and cathode in the electroplating cell are both connected to an external supply of direct current .). a rectifier. although there is a practical limit enforced by poor adhesion and plating quality when the deposition rate is too high.a battery or. When plating is not desired on certain areas of the substrate.g. and waxes. zero valence state. as outside surfaces will tend to have a higher current density than inside surfaces (e. more commonly. However. These free cyanides facilitate anode corrosion. The result is the effective transfer of copper from the anode source to a plate covering the cathode.

In contrast. Electroless deposition Usually an electrolytic cell (consisting of two electrodes. In effect. typically a stainless steel body wrapped with a cloth material that both holds the plating solution and prevents direct contact with the item being plated. the safety pin on the right is the target for plating. ability to plate items that for some reason cannot be tank plated (one application was the plating of portions of very large decorative support columns in a building restoration). and inability to achieve as great a plate thickness. This is common on rough parts or when a bright finish is required. In order to deal with the uneven plating rates that result from high current densities. the reverse current density is three times greater than the forward current density and the reverse pulse width is less than one-quarter the forward pulse width. the solution for the electroless process needs to contain a reducing agent so that the electrode reaction has the form: A timecourse of electroplating with copper. Brush electroplating A closely-related process is brush electroplating. . Disadvantages compared to tank plating can include greater operator involvement (tank plating can frequently be done with minimal attention). but typically does not contribute any plating material. The operator dips the brush in plating solution then applies it to the item.While most plating cells use a continuous direct current.[3] In a typical pulse reverse operation. The brush acts as the anode. Pulse-reverse processes can be operated at a wide range of frequencies from several hundred hertz up to the order of megahertz. The first image is before the electrical supply has been connected. although sometimes the brush is made from or contains the plating material in order to extend the life of the plating solution. the second image shows plating with a thin layer of copper and the later images show the buildup of "fluffy" structurally weak deposits. and comparatively low plating solution volume requirements. electrolyte. an electroless deposition process uses only one electrode and no external source of electric current. Brush electroplating has several advantages over tank plating. is connected to the positive side of a low voltage direct-current power source. including portability. The brush. causing some of the plating from the thicker sections to re-enter the solution. and external source of current) is used for electrodeposition. and the item to be plated connected to the negative. However. low or no masking requirements. This technique is commonly referred to as "pulse plating" and allows high current densities to be used while still producing a quality deposit. this allows the "valleys" to be filled without over-plating the "peaks". the current is even sometimes reversed in a method known as "pulse-reverse plating". moving the brush continually to get an even distribution of the plating material. The anode on the left is pure copper. in which localized areas or entire items are plated using a brush saturated with plating solution. some employ a cycle of 8–15 seconds on followed by 1–3 seconds off.

Hydrophobic contaminants such as oils cause the water to bead and break up. gold and copper typically use low molecular weight aldehydes. Electroless nickel plating uses hypophosphite as the reducer while plating of other metals like silver. Surfactants such as soap reduce the sensitivity of the test and must be thoroughly rinsed off.[6] One cannot electroplate chrome or silver on any given substrate directly. An example of a mechanical change is a change in tensile strength or surface hardness. These difficulties can be overcome with multiple anodes or a specially shaped anode that mimics the object geometry.In principle any water-based reducer can be used although the redox potential of the reducer half-cell must be high enough to overcome the energy barriers inherent in liquid chemistry. This test does not detect hydrophilic contaminants. reducing the cost of production. The downside is that the plating process is usually slower and cannot create such thick plates of metal. An example of a chemical change is when nickel plating improves corrosion resistance. ASTM F22 describes a version of this test. Cleaning processes include solvent cleaning. but the electroplating process can displace these easily since the solutions are water-based. and mechanical properties of the workpiece. when chrome plating carbon steel.[4] Limitations Obtaining a uniform thickness with electroplating can be difficult depending on the geometry of the object being plated.[5] The ability of a plating to cover uniformly is called throwing power. The plating metal is preferentially attracted to external corners and protrusions. For example. in which the surface is thoroughly rinsed and held vertical. Thicker coatings require similar multilayer structures. The most common industrial test for cleanliness is the waterbreak test. Many plating processes require an intermediate plating step. followed by nickel and then chrome to get uniform chrome plated part. Perfectly clean metal surfaces are hydrophilic and will retain an unbroken sheet of water that does not bead up or drain off. A major benefit of this approach over electroplating is that power sources and plating baths are not needed. and acid etc. allowing the water to drain rapidly. History . A hard chrome coating would require multiple alternating coatings of copper and chrome. physical. These additional steps add considerably to the cost and time to electroplate. one would need to electroplate copper on top of carbon steel. hot alkaline detergent cleaning. since molecular layers of oil can prevent adhesion of the coating. Effects Electroplating changes the chemical. electrocleaning. but unattracted to internal corners and recesses. electroless deposition is quite common in the decorative arts. the better the "throwing power" the more uniform the coating. ASTM B322 is a standard guide for cleaning metals prior to electroplating. Cleanliness Cleanliness is essential to successful electroplating. however both of these solutions increase cost. As a consequence of these characteristics. The technique can also plate diverse shapes and types of surface. An example of a physical change is a change in the outward appearance.

These two then founded the electroplating industry in Birmingham from where it spread around the world. along with better appearance. optimization of additive concentration. Nickel plating By 1839. the Parthian Battery may have been the first system used for electroplating.[9] The Hull cell replicates the plating bath on a lab scale.Although it is not confirmed. recognition of impurity effects and indication of macro-throwing power capability. to facilitate the first electrodeposition. bronze alloy plating. Modern electrochemistry was invented by Italian chemist Luigi V. Commercial electroplating of nickel. Brugnatelli's inventions were suppressed by the French Academy of Sciences and did not become used in general industry for the following thirty years. John Wright of Birmingham. The Norddeutsche Affinerie in Hamburg was the first modern electroplating plant starting its production in 1876. its relationship to the electroplating process became understood and other types of non-decorative metal electroplating processes were developed. The plating industry received a big boost from the advent of the development of electric generators in the late 19th century. an appropriate anode which is . Feynman developed the original idea of his friend into a successful invention. tin. capable of processing thousands of kilograms per hour of parts. and zinc were developed by the 1850s. Soon after. and automotive parts requiring corrosion protection and enhanced wear properties. sulfamate nickel plating. scientists in Britain and Russia had independently devised metal deposition processes similar to Brugnatelli's for the copper electroplating of printing press plates. Plating equipment evolved from manually operated tar-lined wooden tanks to automated equipment. allowing his employer (and friend) to keep commercial promises he had made but could not have fulfilled otherwise. the voltaic pile.[7] As the science of electrochemistry grew. With the higher currents. One of the American physicist Richard Feynman's first projects was to develop technology for electroplating metal onto plastic. It allows for optimization for current density range. hardware. along with numerous other plating processes. The two World Wars and the growing aviation industry gave impetus to further developments and refinements including such processes as hard chromium plating. George Elkington and Henry Elkington were awarded the first patents for electroplating in 1840. available metal machine components. It is filled with a sample of the plating solution. could be processed in bulk. Brugnatelli used his colleague Alessandro Volta's invention of five years earlier.[8] Hull cell The Hull cell is a type of test cell used to qualitatively check the condition of a electroplating bath. Electroplating baths and equipment based on the patents of the Elkingtons were scaled up to accommodate the plating of numerous large scale objects and for specific manufacturing and engineering applications. Brugnatelli in 1805. England discovered that potassium cyanide was a suitable electrolyte for gold and silver electroplating. Wright's associates. brass.

5 oz/gal in the plating tank.connected to a rectifier. A zinc solution tested in a hull cell The Hull cell is a trapezoidal container that holds 267 ml of solution.[10] See also ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Anodization Chrome plating Electrochemistry Electrogalvanization Electromigration Electropolishing Galvanization Gilding and Angel gilding Industrial etching Nickel electroplating . The "work" is replaced with a hull cell test panel that will be plated to show the "health" of the bath. The solution volume allows for a quantitative optimization of additive concentration: 1 gram addition to 267 mL is equivalent to 0. As a result. the deposit is plated at different current densities which can be measured with a hull cell ruler. This shape allows one to place the test panel on an angle to the anode.