CIE IGCSE Chemistry

Revision Notes

5.1.2 Electroplating


  • Electroplating is a process where the surface of one metal is coated with a layer of a different metal
  • The metal being used to coat is a less reactive metal than the one it is covering
  • The anode is made from the pure metal used to coat
  • The cathode is the object to be electroplated
  • The electrolyte is an aqueous solution of a soluble salt of the pure metal at the anode


Electroplating-Tin, IGCSE & GCSE Chemistry revision notesA piece of iron being electroplated with tin. The electrolyte is tin(II) chloride, a water-soluble salt of tin


Uses of electroplating

  • Electroplating is done to make metals more resistant to corrosion or damage, e.g: chromium and nickel plating
  • It is also done to improve the appearance of metals, e.g: silver plating cutlery

Conductors & insulators


  • Conductors of electricity allow electrical charge to pass through them easily
  • Conductors can be:
    • Solids such as metals or graphite
    • Liquids such as molten lead bromide or molten metals
    • Solutions such as sodium chloride solution
  • Copper is used extensively in electrical wiring as it is an excellent conductor and is malleable and easy to work with
  • Aluminium is used in overhead cables which are reinforced with a steel core
  • The steel core provides extra strength and prevents the cable from breaking under its own weight
  • Although not as good a conductor as copper, it is less dense and cheaper than copper


  • Insulators resist the flow of electricity and do not conduct
  • Most insulators are solids of plastic, rubber or ceramic
  • Plastics are used as insulators and are placed around electrical wiring and for some tool and machine handles
  • Ceramics are used in very high voltage lines where contact between the power line and the metal of the pylon would be dangerous

Author: Morgan

Morgan’s passion for the Periodic Table begun on his 10th birthday when he received his first Chemistry set. After studying the subject at university he went on to become a fully fledged Chemistry teacher, and now works in an international school in Madrid! In his spare time he helps create our fantastic resources to help you ace your exams.

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