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Examination of copper electrowinning smoothing agents. Part IV: Nucleation and growth of copper on stainless steel

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2016, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 39-46

Luyima, A.; Cui, W.; Heckman, C.; Moats, M.S.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.19150/mmp.6465


?Nucleation and growth of copper on 316L stainless steel from synthetic acidified copper sulfate was studied in the absence and presence of chloride ions and/or organic additives – HydroStar® 4208, DXG-F7® and Cyquest® N-900 – using a potentiostatic technique. The current–time data obtained at 0.16V versus the SHE were analyzed using nucleation and growth models. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of deposits produced at 300 A/m2 show that the addition of 20 mg/L chloride ions increased the size and reduced the number of copper nuclei. Potentiostatic current–time data from the electrolyte without organic additives, and confirmed by SEM images, indicate progressive nucleation with two-dimensional growth under diffusion control. None of the organic additives studied at a concentration of 2.5 mg/L with 20 mg/L chloride changed the nucleation and growth mechanism, but the additives increased the number and reduced the size of copper nuclei, leading to more uniform coverage of the stainless steel substrate.