Electrolysis

Step by Step Instructions

 

Electrolysis is a simple and effective way to age brass quickly with minimal effort. It can be accomplished in minutes to hours without the use of harsh or toxic chemicals. Generally electrolysis is used to clean metals and to remove tarnish. But the same process can be run in reverse to add patina to brass.

It can be accomplished using readily available materials found around the home. A very simple set up can be put together to provide years of service. Precautions are needed due to use of low voltage electricity. You should work in a well ventilated area.

 

Here is the setup:

Plastic Container

A non metalic container such as a plastic tub or glass or ceramic bowl.

Baking soda

Baking soda mixed with water creates the electrolyte.

AC Adaptor

An AC adapter. Note the polarity as labeled on the plug, which wire is negative and positive.Alligator clips

Attach alligator clips to the wires of the AC adapter.

Shiny brass

Here is the test brass blank piece in its original condition. It is being used as the anode and attached to the positive pole of the AC adapter.

Steel bolt

This is the steel screw being used as the cathode. It goes on the negative pole of the AC adapter.

Electrolysis setup

Here is the entire setup with the anode and cathode immersed in the electrolyte of baking soda dissolved in water.

Electrolysis in action

Notice the bubbles arising from the metals as the electrolysis goes to action.

Aged brass

The final result showing the same brass piece with a light tarnish. The longer the process goes the darker is the rich patina.

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