Among the different areas of surface treatment, metal deposition (metals on metals) is an area of activity with multiple applications (electronic, connectors, decoration, hard layers , etc.). The application of this type of layers is generally made by electrodeposition via an electrolyte (electroplating). However, these solutions are often highly toxic and their use is gradually prohibited by environmental legislation.
This research aims to replace cyanide based electrolytes for silver plating by non-toxic alternatives. Theese new solutions are designed to respect the environment and protect the line operators.
To achieve this goal, a proposal is to formulate an electrolyte medium with an ionic liquid. The use of ionic liquids as electrolytes is an innovative way not only because it is a "green" alternative to electrolytes currently used, but also because it gives access to metallic deposits which cannot be obtained with aqueous electrolytes.
The formulation of the electrolyte will be developed for rack and barrel plating, as well as for continuous reel-to-reel application. This formulation will help to deal with both copper and nickel substrates as it is the case for aqueous baths currently used industrially. Only the conditions of application might change.
University of Brussels, Materia Nova, IONICS
The project is financed by the Walloon Research Administration, DGO6.