Research Highlight

Ultrasonic Agitation in electroplating

This year, DIRDI has supported two projects looking into the effects of ultrasonic agitation on the industrial electroplating process.

In Epiphany Term 2023, we supported six students in a Physics Team Project ‘Investigating the Effect of Ultrasonic Agitation and Electrolyte Stirring on the Quality of Nickel Electroplated Brass’, which called for further research into this based on the data collected during experimentation.

This further research was undertaken by two Physics undergraduates as a part-time internship in the Summer of 2023. Over 8 weeks, Ms Athina Vogiatzi and Mr Samuel Josephs, both Members of DIRDI and supervised by DIRDI Fellow Professor Stewart Clark undertook experimental research and published a paper at the end of their internship.

This concluded that:

The use of Ultrasound during the electroplating process has shown improvements in the smoothness of the surface coating and in some cases an improvement in the microhardness of the deposited nickel.

The promising conclusions drawn here will likely be further pursued by DIRDI in a future project, with the aspiration to eventually support the use of sono-electrodeposition on an industrial scale, as part of the Institute’s second aim, Edisonian Commercialisation.

Sono-electrodeposition 1

M. Vogiatzi & S. Josephs – FESEM images of the surface morphology of ultrasound-assisted electroplated samples for frequencies 0-80kHz.

L3 Team Project – Photos of electroplated brass samples under different plating conditions. Side A depicts the side of the sample facing towards the anode, while Side B depicts the side of the sample facing away from the anode.