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This study outlines a novel and sustainable electrodeposition-redox replacement (EDRR) method to produce Cu/Zn alloys using a simulated hydrometallurgical Zn solution containing 200 ppm Cu, 65 g/L Zn, and 10 g/L H2SO4. The results indicate that by tailoring the EDRR parameters, like deposition time, replacement time, and agitation conditions, Cu/Zn alloys with controllable properties including chemical composition, microstructures, colorations, and crystalline phases can be readily obtained. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis shows that coherent Cu/Zn films grow from separate nanoscale particles produced during the initial EDRR cycles. Furthermore, the corrosion performance of the prepared Cu/Zn films is tunable by changing the crystalline phases through the variation of operating conditions. For example, deposits containing Zn-rich phases (CuZn5, Cu5Zn8) obtained with short redox replacement times without agitation resulted in relatively poor corrosion resistance. In contrast, Cu-rich phases (Cu0.75Zn0.25, Cu0.85Zn0.15) with enhanced corrosion performance were achieved with prolonged redox replacement times and/or the application of magnetic stirring. Unlike traditional electrodeposition, the EDRR method does not involve any complexing agents and the currently underutilized hydrometallurgical solutions were used as potential raw materials. Overall, the study suggests the EDRR method as a promising approach to achieve sustainable manufacturing of Cu/Zn alloys and an improved circular economy of metals.
- Cyanide-free electroplating
- Corrosion resistance
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Green and Controllable Preparation of Cu/Zn Alloys Using Combined Electrodeposition and Redox Replacement