So I think the title all most says it all - given say two pieces of copper can we make solid 'weld' using electroplating chemistry? If so whats the accepted terminology for this process so I can do some literature research - also am I correct in my assumption that the join would be as strong as the raw metal?

  • $\begingroup$ Just to clarify I'm imagining holding both sides of the join in position with the cathode attached to both pieces and the join area submerged in the plating bath. $\endgroup$ – norlesh Oct 9 '18 at 2:40
  • $\begingroup$ You could electroplate Pb/Sn on the copper, then reflow the solder in a furnace to join the pieces. // I don't think that you could get a good mechanical joint by just trying to electroplate the two pieces together in a solution. $\endgroup$ – MaxW Oct 9 '18 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ How would electroplating penetrate between sheets? $\endgroup$ – DrMoishe Pippik Oct 9 '18 at 23:47

There's a 1974 Sandia labs paper on "Joining by Electroplating", abstract and citation available here. They recommend tapering the joint and plating a triangular void closed, which brings up the important point that you need to let fresh electrolyte in to reach the joint as it builds up material. For example, trying to electroplate two flat disks face-to-face would likely result in most of the deposit forming a ring around the disk edges, sealing a layer of corrosive electrolyte between the disks rather than securely welding them together.

The terminology for this sort of technology has rather permeable boundaries, but includes:

  • Electroplating, normally aiming to deposit a mostly uniform surface coating over an existing substrate. Common in a variety of consumer goods, often for corrosion protection.
  • Electroforming, depositing material over a removable mandrel. Common in micromanufacturing.
  • Electrowinning, extracting or purifying material. Common in mining.

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