Environmentally friendly electrolyte for the electrodeposition of Cu-Zn alloys

Environmentally friendlier and safer alternatives are required as replacement for highly toxic cyanide baths used by electroplating industries. Glutamate has proved to be an adequate complexing agent in alkaline copper and zinc plating baths due to its capability to form anionic complexes with those metal ions. Consequently, studies with a glutamate-based electrolyte for Cu-Zn alloys deposition are presented.
In this work, cathodic polarization experiments on a rotating disk electrode in both static and rotating conditions were carried out using the novel electrolyte with and without the addition of a polymeric cationic surfactant (Polyquaternium-7). The deposits were later dissolved by anodic stripping to characterize the electrochemical processes involved in the Cu-Zn-Glutamate system. Galvanostatic experiments, using flat steel electrodes as substrate, were carried out at different current densities with and without additive. These coatings were characterised by SEM, EDS and XRD.
Cu-Zn alloys with compositions between 37-83 wt.% of copper were obtained. α, β and γ phases were obtained depending on the electrolyte composition and the applied current density.


Environmental Issues of Chromium(VI) Compounds

This article focuses on ecotoxicological properties of chromium(VI) compounds, their behavior in the environment, as well as consequences for safe handling such compounds. In natural environments, chromium is usually part of complex compounds. Therefore, higher concentrations of biologically available chromium compounds are mostly due to human activity. Trivalent and hexavalent chromium remain stable in natural environments. Both oxidation states are inter-convertible via redox reactions. As studies on organisms at all levels of the food chain show, hexavalent chromium is characterized by relatively high acute and chronic aquatic toxicity. From a regulatory point of view, this implies that additional risk management measures are necessary in order to reduce the input of chromium(VI) compounds into the environment as far as possible. At the same time, the properties of the substance call for an intensive search for substitute materials and processes that guarantee the functionality needed but cause less problems for human health and the environment. Further details are available in European Risk Assessment Report 53 [1].