Image made using the COMSOL Multiphysics® software and is provided courtesy of COMSOL.
Decorative electroplating assuming secondary current distribution with full Butler-Volmer kinetics for both the anode and the cathode. The deposited thickness on the front and the backside of the piece is shown.
Modeling and simulations are cost-effective methods for understanding, optimizing, and controlling electrodeposition processes. A typical simulation yields the current distribution at the surface of the electrodes, and the thickness and composition of the deposited layer. Simulations are used for studying important parameters such as cell geometry, electrolyte composition, electrode reaction kinetics, operating voltages and currents, as well as temperature effects. With information about these parameters, you can optimize the operating conditions of the electrochemical cells and the placement and design of masks, and ensure the quality of your surfaces, while minimizing material and energy losses.
The Electrodeposition Module is suited for a wide variety of applications, including: metal deposition for electronics and electrical parts; corrosion and wear protection; decorative electroplating; electroforming of parts with thin and complex structures; etching; electromachining; electrowinning; and electrorefining. With the Electrodeposition Module, you can consider all of the participating phenomena and simulate them together. More specifically, you may couple the equations that describe current transport and conservation, chemical species transport, charge balances, and electrochemical kinetics. Due to the ability to account for several relevant phenomena, you are able to obtain accurate estimates of the quality, shape, and thickness of the deposit on the surface of the electrodes.
Tools and physics interfaces are available within the Electrodeposition Module for defining the physical characteristics of your process. Predefined formulations allow you to model primary, secondary, and tertiary current distribution effects – often excellent indicators of the surface finish and product quality of your process.