Plating grids with Palladium or other metals

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Frank Sanns
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Plating grids with Palladium or other metals

Post by Frank Sanns » Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:39 pm

From another post, several people had emailed me about putting palladium on grids. Here is some info for all.

There are a many different ways to plate materials. Three common ways are sputtering, vacuum (vapor) deposition, and electrodeposition.

Sputtering and vacuum or vapor deposition require a high vacuum system. Sputtering is simpler since it just uses a disk of plating of material just above the target material. About 1 KV dc is put across the materials. Target is negative lead and source is positive. The distance between the target and the source is adjusted to just outside of the darkspace. A very shiny uniform coating will form on the target.

Vacuum deposition uses a tungsten wire that is wrapped with a fine wire of the material that you want to deposit. A current is passed through the tungsten wire which heats it to glowing. This causes the other metal that is wrapped around the tungsten wire to boil off in the low pressure of the vacuum. The vapor is heavy so it settles on whatever is below it. Both of these work very well and give very high quality surfaces. A sphere or grid is somewhat tougher as are complex shapes. If you have a fusor, you have what it takes to do either of these techniques.

Electroplating is a technique that uses chemical ionization potentials in a reverse electrolyte battery configuration. A metal (like palladium) is dissolved in water in a salt form and a low voltage (negative 3-6 volts) is put on the item that will be plated. In just a couple of minutes, the item will be uniformly plated.

Electroplating, like the other plating techniques, require the base material to be VERY clean. Ideally it should be etched with an acid or a base depending upon the metal, just before electroplating. Depending on what base metal you use, you should put a coat of copper or nickel or both on 1st to fill tiny pores, provide ductility, and improve adhesion. The top layer of palladium, gold, platinum, copper, silver or just about any of the other metals can then be applied

To get the metals into solution, they are usually dissolved in a small amount of acid. Depending on the metal, it can be digested by hydrochloric, nitric, sulfuric, or phosphoric or a few others. This will make the metal into a salt (i.e. palladium chloride) that is very soluble in water. It is then diluted to an appropriate concentration (approximately 1g to 3g of metal per liter) and the pH (how acidic or basic it is) of the solution is adjusted. It is common to add KOH and KCN at this point to get the metallic atoms in a form to plate out and to buffer the pH. Some metals plate better basic while others do better on the acidic side of neutral. Palladium is good slightly acidic (pH 6). Lower concentration solutions plate slower and more uniformly. Agitation is important for uniformity. Warming to around 70 degrees C also helps. Getting a bright finish requires some additives like bisulfites and the like. I use a high purity graphite electrode for my positive terminal but you could use palladium if you want to replenish your solution as you plate. Ready made solutions are available online. For around $60 US you can get enough palladium plating solution to do a couple of 2 inch spheres and take the guess work out.

Frank S.

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Re: Plating grids with Palladium or other metals

Post by Starfire » Mon Apr 19, 2004 11:22 pm

Hi Frank, Tks. - Do you use palladium chloride for plating? Also - have you tried to plate onto Ceramic? I am thinking of a ceramic disc filter ( Chemistry ) as a base of an inline pallidium barrier. The D2 should pass but not the H2O. Wonder if the ceramic disc would need to be sputtered to get an electrode. Last - where do you get the plating salt? ' Ready made solutions are available online' url?

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Re: Plating grids with Palladium or other metals

Post by Frank Sanns » Tue Apr 20, 2004 2:08 am

Hi John,

Yes, you can plate ceramics and plastic in plating solutions. And guess what the 1st step is in plating the non conductors. You guessed it, put them into palladium chloride. The palladium will start to plate out on the surface of the non conductor. You will not get complete coverage this way but it will make the surface conductive enough to add power and put on a thicker continuous layer.

There are also techniques for puting metals on surfaces without and electricity. I remember doing it with silver nitrate and ammonium hydroxide. It was a stable solution until you added a reducing sugar like dextrose. Then the silver would plate out on anything it touched. I made some really bright mirrors this way. You can do this with palladium too by making it fall out of solution slowly by changing the pH or solubilty parameters of the solution.

For a really inexpensive electrodeposition kit ($28 US) go to http://www.caswellplating.com/kits/plug ... c59c7011e1

For palladium chemicals and many other interesting metals I have used http://www.brushplate.com/plating_chemicals.htm

You can even get electropolish there for doing the inside of a stainless steel fusor!

Hope this helps.

Frank S.

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Re: Plating grids with Palladium or other metals

Post by rlg9292 » Mon Jun 14, 2004 2:04 pm

In a message from Frank S regarding Pd electroplating solutions, he mentioned that there are commercial solutions available for about $60. Can you provide a source. Also, do you have any suggestions re current and voltage for a part that is cylindrical measuring 3/4" in diameter by 1/2" in thickness?
Frank S. wrote:
> From another post, several people had emailed me about putting palladium on grids. Here is some info for all.
>
> There are a many different ways to plate materials. Three common ways are sputtering, vacuum (vapor) deposition, and electrodeposition.
>
> Sputtering and vacuum or vapor deposition require a high vacuum system. Sputtering is simpler since it just uses a disk of plating of material just above the target material. About 1 KV dc is put across the materials. Target is negative lead and source is positive. The distance between the target and the source is adjusted to just outside of the darkspace. A very shiny uniform coating will form on the target.
>
> Vacuum deposition uses a tungsten wire that is wrapped with a fine wire of the material that you want to deposit. A current is passed through the tungsten wire which heats it to glowing. This causes the other metal that is wrapped around the tungsten wire to boil off in the low pressure of the vacuum. The vapor is heavy so it settles on whatever is below it. Both of these work very well and give very high quality surfaces. A sphere or grid is somewhat tougher as are complex shapes. If you have a fusor, you have what it takes to do either of these techniques.
>
> Electroplating is a technique that uses chemical ionization potentials in a reverse electrolyte battery configuration. A metal (like palladium) is dissolved in water in a salt form and a low voltage (negative 3-6 volts) is put on the item that will be plated. In just a couple of minutes, the item will be uniformly plated.
>
> Electroplating, like the other plating techniques, require the base material to be VERY clean. Ideally it should be etched with an acid or a base depending upon the metal, just before electroplating. Depending on what base metal you use, you should put a coat of copper or nickel or both on 1st to fill tiny pores, provide ductility, and improve adhesion. The top layer of palladium, gold, platinum, copper, silver or just about any of the other metals can then be applied
>
> To get the metals into solution, they are usually dissolved in a small amount of acid. Depending on the metal, it can be digested by hydrochloric, nitric, sulfuric, or phosphoric or a few others. This will make the metal into a salt (i.e. palladium chloride) that is very soluble in water. It is then diluted to an appropriate concentration (approximately 1g to 3g of metal per liter) and the pH (how acidic or basic it is) of the solution is adjusted. It is common to add KOH and KCN at this point to get the metallic atoms in a form to plate out and to buffer the pH. Some metals plate better basic while others do better on the acidic side of neutral. Palladium is good slightly acidic (pH 6). Lower concentration solutions plate slower and more uniformly. Agitation is important for uniformity. Warming to around 70 degrees C also helps. Getting a bright finish requires some additives like bisulfites and the like. I use a high purity graphite electrode for my positive terminal but you could use palladium if you want to replenish your solution as you plate. Ready made solutions are available online. For around $60 US you can get enough palladium plating solution to do a couple of 2 inch spheres and take the guess work out.
>
> Frank S.

Frank S. wrote:
> From another post, several people had emailed me about putting palladium on grids. Here is some info for all.
>
> There are a many different ways to plate materials. Three common ways are sputtering, vacuum (vapor) deposition, and electrodeposition.
>
> Sputtering and vacuum or vapor deposition require a high vacuum system. Sputtering is simpler since it just uses a disk of plating of material just above the target material. About 1 KV dc is put across the materials. Target is negative lead and source is positive. The distance between the target and the source is adjusted to just outside of the darkspace. A very shiny uniform coating will form on the target.
>
> Vacuum deposition uses a tungsten wire that is wrapped with a fine wire of the material that you want to deposit. A current is passed through the tungsten wire which heats it to glowing. This causes the other metal that is wrapped around the tungsten wire to boil off in the low pressure of the vacuum. The vapor is heavy so it settles on whatever is below it. Both of these work very well and give very high quality surfaces. A sphere or grid is somewhat tougher as are complex shapes. If you have a fusor, you have what it takes to do either of these techniques.
>
> Electroplating is a technique that uses chemical ionization potentials in a reverse electrolyte battery configuration. A metal (like palladium) is dissolved in water in a salt form and a low voltage (negative 3-6 volts) is put on the item that will be plated. In just a couple of minutes, the item will be uniformly plated.
>
> Electroplating, like the other plating techniques, require the base material to be VERY clean. Ideally it should be etched with an acid or a base depending upon the metal, just before electroplating. Depending on what base metal you use, you should put a coat of copper or nickel or both on 1st to fill tiny pores, provide ductility, and improve adhesion. The top layer of palladium, gold, platinum, copper, silver or just about any of the other metals can then be applied
>
> To get the metals into solution, they are usually dissolved in a small amount of acid. Depending on the metal, it can be digested by hydrochloric, nitric, sulfuric, or phosphoric or a few others. This will make the metal into a salt (i.e. palladium chloride) that is very soluble in water. It is then diluted to an appropriate concentration (approximately 1g to 3g of metal per liter) and the pH (how acidic or basic it is) of the solution is adjusted. It is common to add KOH and KCN at this point to get the metallic atoms in a form to plate out and to buffer the pH. Some metals plate better basic while others do better on the acidic side of neutral. Palladium is good slightly acidic (pH 6). Lower concentration solutions plate slower and more uniformly. Agitation is important for uniformity. Warming to around 70 degrees C also helps. Getting a bright finish requires some additives like bisulfites and the like. I use a high purity graphite electrode for my positive terminal but you could use palladium if you want to replenish your solution as you plate. Ready made solutions are available online. For around $60 US you can get enough palladium plating solution to do a couple of 2 inch spheres and take the guess work out.
>
> Frank S.

Frank S. wrote:
> From another post, several people had emailed me about putting palladium on grids. Here is some info for all.
>
> There are a many different ways to plate materials. Three common ways are sputtering, vacuum (vapor) deposition, and electrodeposition.
>
> Sputtering and vacuum or vapor deposition require a high vacuum system. Sputtering is simpler since it just uses a disk of plating of material just above the target material. About 1 KV dc is put across the materials. Target is negative lead and source is positive. The distance between the target and the source is adjusted to just outside of the darkspace. A very shiny uniform coating will form on the target.
>
> Vacuum deposition uses a tungsten wire that is wrapped with a fine wire of the material that you want to deposit. A current is passed through the tungsten wire which heats it to glowing. This causes the other metal that is wrapped around the tungsten wire to boil off in the low pressure of the vacuum. The vapor is heavy so it settles on whatever is below it. Both of these work very well and give very high quality surfaces. A sphere or grid is somewhat tougher as are complex shapes. If you have a fusor, you have what it takes to do either of these techniques.
>
> Electroplating is a technique that uses chemical ionization potentials in a reverse electrolyte battery configuration. A metal (like palladium) is dissolved in water in a salt form and a low voltage (negative 3-6 volts) is put on the item that will be plated. In just a couple of minutes, the item will be uniformly plated.
>
> Electroplating, like the other plating techniques, require the base material to be VERY clean. Ideally it should be etched with an acid or a base depending upon the metal, just before electroplating. Depending on what base metal you use, you should put a coat of copper or nickel or both on 1st to fill tiny pores, provide ductility, and improve adhesion. The top layer of palladium, gold, platinum, copper, silver or just about any of the other metals can then be applied
>
> To get the metals into solution, they are usually dissolved in a small amount of acid. Depending on the metal, it can be digested by hydrochloric, nitric, sulfuric, or phosphoric or a few others. This will make the metal into a salt (i.e. palladium chloride) that is very soluble in water. It is then diluted to an appropriate concentration (approximately 1g to 3g of metal per liter) and the pH (how acidic or basic it is) of the solution is adjusted. It is common to add KOH and KCN at this point to get the metallic atoms in a form to plate out and to buffer the pH. Some metals plate better basic while others do better on the acidic side of neutral. Palladium is good slightly acidic (pH 6). Lower concentration solutions plate slower and more uniformly. Agitation is important for uniformity. Warming to around 70 degrees C also helps. Getting a bright finish requires some additives like bisulfites and the like. I use a high purity graphite electrode for my positive terminal but you could use palladium if you want to replenish your solution as you plate. Ready made solutions are available online. For around $60 US you can get enough palladium plating solution to do a couple of 2 inch spheres and take the guess work out.
>
> Frank S.

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Re: Plating grids with Palladium or other metals

Post by Frank Sanns » Tue Jun 15, 2004 4:34 am

The link for the Palladium plating solution can be found at http://www.brushplate.com/plating_chemicals.htm . The product code is 1065.

Plating only requires a very low voltage. Each metal has its own characteristic electronegativiy and hence will require its own minimum voltage. Materials will start to plate at just a few tenths of a volt up to about 5 volts. Once you are above that minimum plating voltage, it is the current that determines the rate of metal deposition.

Your cylinder is small so it will not take much current to plate. Try 10-20 ma @ 3-5 volts for one or two minutes. This should give you a very thin coat. For a thicker covering you can run for several minutes or more until you get the thickness you are looking for. For fusion, you only need a very thin layer since it is only the top 50 or less atomic layers that will be bombarded by deuterons.

Frank S.

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