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I am preparing to copper electroplate an ABS plastic sheet in my home and wanted to know what the best container/environment would be to store the copper acetate solution.

First, I created the solution using copper metal, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.

Can I simply store this solution in a plastic container?

Should it be closed with an air-tight lid?

Would food-grade LLDPE plastic container be acceptable?

Does the color of container matter? Is black color better than clear color as it reflects more light?

Is it OK to leave it in my home at room temperature or should it be refrigerated?

Thanks!

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    $\begingroup$ Far too many questions at once. You need to hire some industrial chemistry consultant! $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Oct 5, 2020 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ Instead of hydrogen peroxide, aerial oxygen and time can be used. Many people consider air less expensive but time more expensive than hydrogen peroxide. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Oct 6, 2020 at 12:38

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Electroless copper plating requires a copper salt solution, of course (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroless_copper_plating), but there are many other considerations, like the reducing agent and surface preparation.

I think that storage of the homemade copper acetate solution is a minor issue in your project and a plastic container with an air-tight lid should be perfectly fine, without refrigeration, for a few years.

However, for the actual electroplating, your copper solution may not be adequately characterized. There may be excess acetic acid, other stuff from the vinegar (which could be perfectly safe to consume, but not for sensitive chemical reactions). Commercial copper salts are available inexpensively and with high purity, if the project you are working on has significant value.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks so much for the reply. I was actually thinking of doing electroplating rather than electroless plating, but perhaps I should consider electroless? I have seen copper salts (such as copper sulfate pentahydrate). However, my intuition was that it would be cheaper to create the copper solution myself rather than buy pre-prepared copper salts. Can I simply dissolve the copper sulfate in water to create the electrolyte solution? Going back to my method above, it seems vinegar and hydrogen peroxide create a toxic paracetic acid. Are there better solutions to create the electrolyte? $\endgroup$
    – Jai
    Oct 8, 2020 at 16:22
  • $\begingroup$ It's fun to experiment, but sometimes frustrating if you try too many untested things all at once. Find an example to imitate, then do something different, one thing at a time. Googling electroless copper plating (and videos) will bring up many videos. Try reproducing one to get the feel of it, then adapt to your materials. Peracetic acid is in equilibrium with acetic acid and H2O2, and your concentrations will be very low because the copper metal will likely catalyze the decomposition of the H2O2. Good luck; be careful. $\endgroup$ Oct 9, 2020 at 13:59

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