I was recently watching a video on electro plating I understand that it only works with metals so I wondered if there's a method to do the same thing but with non-metals.

  • $\begingroup$ Which non-metal do you have in mind? $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Dec 5, 2021 at 4:06
  • $\begingroup$ @M.Farooq this is mere curiosity I don't have a project in mind so this is pretty much random but idk Sulfur, carbon and I also said compounds so sugar? I haven't done chemistry since highschool sorry. $\endgroup$
    – neo flare
    Dec 5, 2021 at 4:09
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think you cannot electroplate sulfur, carbon or sugar on metal electrodes. $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Dec 5, 2021 at 5:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ On the other hand, you can take a brush and coat anything in paint. $\endgroup$ Dec 5, 2021 at 6:57
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    $\begingroup$ If you read "electroplating is covering... by metals" that is a definition based on its common use. Everything that it is electroactive and sticks to an electrode upon reduction or oxidation can be suitable. Electrochemical deposition of coniugated polymers or donor acceptor salts both involves organic compounds, and is in fact an electroplating process. $\endgroup$
    – Alchimista
    Dec 5, 2021 at 9:25

2 Answers 2


Yes. An example of a nonmetal "plating" out is the formation of ammonium amalgam. It is also shows the surprising stability of the ammonium radical, which behaves like a metal.

ScienceMadness.org states, "Ammonium amalgam has remained a curiosity since first made in 1808 [by both Davy and Berzelius, ed.], it has the intriguing property of being seemingly comprised of free radical Ammonium $\ce{NH3•H}$."

Of course, in forming an amalgam, the $\ce{NH3•H}$ plates out onto the mercury, but is quickly absorbed inside.

Do not use ammonium amalgam to fill cavities in teeth! ;-)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Wikipedia describes it as "Ammonium amalgam is a grey, soft, spongy mass discovered in 1808 by Humphry Davy and Jöns Jakob Berzelius. It decomposes readily at room temperature or in contact with water or alcohol". Given that it is not stable and only exists with Hg, not a prime example of a "coating", per se. Link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalgam_(chemistry) . $\endgroup$
    – AJKOER
    Dec 6, 2021 at 4:38

Yes, you can. Here is a reference concerning an electrolysis experiment based on aqueous $\ce{H2S}$, to quote:

An analysis of the chemical and electrochemical reactions in aqueous sulfide solutions indicated that the electrolysis of hydrogen sulfide in an alkaline solution will yield elemental sulfur and hydrogen without the passivation of the electrode if the ratio of NaOH to NaHS is properly controlled.

So, barring 'proper controls', your electrode (here the target of plating) would be covered with a deposit of sulfur.

So, employing a large flat surface area as the targeted electrode appears workable.

When it is fully coated, the process conveniently stops!


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