Hence processes have been patented in which the objects to be plated are suspended in revolving drums between the anodes, the rotation of the drum causing the constant renewal of surfaces and affording a burnishing action at the same time.
Care must be taken not to expose goods in the plating-bath to too high a current density, else they may be "burnt"; they must never be exposed one at a time to the full anode surface, with the current flowing in an empty bath, but either one piece at a time should be replaced, or some of the anodes should be transferred temporarily to the place of the cathodes, in order to distribute the current over a sufficient cathode-area.
Very irregular surfaces may require the use of specially shaped anodes in order that the distance between the electrodes may be fairly uniform, otherwise the portion of the cathode lying nearest to the anode may receive an undue share of the current, and therefore a greater thickness of coat.
Supplementary anodes are sometimes used in difficult cases of this kind.
The principle usually followed in the electrolytic refining of metals is to cast the impure metal into plates, which are exposed as anodes in a suitable solvent, commonly a salt of the metal under treatment.
Hermite, which consisted in the production of bleach-liquors by the electrolysis (according to the 1st edition of the 1884 patent) of magnesium or calcium chloride between platinum anodes carried in wooden frames, and zinc cathodes.
Many modifications have been patented by Hermite, that of 1895 specifying the use of platinum gauze anodes, held in ebonite or other frames.
Many electrolytic methods have been proposed for the purification of sugar; in some of them soluble anodes are used for a few minutes in weak alkaline solutions, so that the caustic alkali from the cathode reaction may precipitate chemically the hydroxide of the anode metal dissolved in the liquid, the precipitate carrying with it mechanically some of the impurities present, and thus clarifying the solution.
Siemens and Halske, essentially consists in the electrolysis of weak solutions with iron or steel plate anodes, and lead cathodes, the latter, when coated with gold, being fused and cupelled.
Iron anodes are suspended around the cathode, and between the two is a cylinder of iron gauze at the bottom with a sheet-iron continuation above, the latter being provided with a movable cover.
The operation is essentially a dissociation of alumina into aluminium, which collects at the cathode, and into oxygen, which combines with the anodes to form carbon monoxide, the latter escaping and being burnt to carbon dioxide outside.
Theoretically 36 parts by weight of carbon are oxidized in the production of 54 parts of aluminium; practically the anodes waste at the same rate at which metal is deposited.
The anodes are made of retort-carbon or other chlorine-resisting material, and they are mounted in cells which serve as diaphragms. The material of these cells is usually cement, mixed with certain soluble salts which impart sufficient porosity to the material.
He cast crude copper, as obtained from the ore, into plates which were used as anodes, sheets of electro-deposited copper forming the cathodes.
Six anodes were suspended, alternately with four cathodes, in a saturated solution of copper sulphate in a cylindrical fire-clay trough, all the anodes being connected in one parallel group, and all the cathodes in another.
A hundred or more jars were coupled in series, the cathodes of one to the anodes of the next, and were so arranged that with the aid of side-pipes with leaden connexions and india-rubber joints the electrolyte could, once daily, be made to circulate through them all from the top of one jar to the bottom of the next.
Ft., until the anodes were too crippled for further use.
The electrical pressure required to force a current of this intensity through the solution, and to overcome a certain opposing electromotive force arising from the more electro-negative impurities of the anode, depends upon the composition of the bath and of the anodes, the distance between the electrodes, and the temperature, but under the usual working conditions averages o-3 volt for every pair of electrodes in series.
The anodes are usually cast copper plates about (say) 3 ft.
The connexions are made by copper rods, each of which, in length, is twice the width of the tank, with a bayonet-bend in the middle, and serves to support the cathodes in the one and the anodes in the next tank.
In later installations, under the 1895 patent, the anodes are placed horizontally on a porous tray resting within the solution above an endless silver band revolving, also horizontally, over rollers placed near the ends of a long shallow tank.
Acidified copper nitrate solution is run into this cell, copper is deposited, and the more or less spent solution then passes through the linen partition, and, taking up metal from the anodes by electrolytic solution, is run out of the trough through a series of vessels filled with copper by which the silver is precipitated by simple exchange; after acidification the resulting silver-free copper solution is returned to the cathode cell for the deposition of the copper, the solution being employed again and again until too impure for use.
Under the multiple system anodes and cathodes are placed alternately, all the anodes in one tank being connected to one rod, and all the cathodes to another, and the potential difference between the terminals of each tank is that between a single pair of plates.
Per ton of copper higher under the series than it is under the multiple system; but against this, it must be remembered that the new works of the Baltimore Copper Smelting and Rolling Company, which are as large as those of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, are using the Hayden process, which is the chief representative of the several series systems. In this system rolled copper anodes are used; these, being purer than many cast anodes, having flat surfaces, and being held in place by guides, dissolve with great regularity and require a space of only a in.
The electrolyte, when too impure for further use, is commonly recrystallized, or electrolysed with insoluble anodes to recover the copper.
As the operation proceeded, it was found that the voltage had to be raised until it became prohibitive, while the anodes rapidly became honeycombed through and, crumbling away, filled up the space at the bottom of the vat.