Potential-Selective Deposition of Copper from Chloride Solutions Containing Iron

Ralph White, James A. Trainham, John Newman, Thomas W. Chapmant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The hydrometallurgy of copper may involve leaching of the metal from its ore with an aqueous solution containing cupric and ferric chloride. The subsequent deposition of copper from such a process stream is modeled here in an idealized electrochemical cell with a rotating-disk electrode. The potential distribution and concentration profiles within the diffusion layer are predicted for given potential differences between the electrode and the solution. The cuprous ion, which is formed by the reduction of the complexed cupric ion at the electrode, is stabilized in the chloride solution and can react either at the electrode or with ferric species within the diffusion layer. The assumption is that this fast and irreversible homogeneous reaction generates a reaction plane, whose position is shown in the concentration and potential profiles. In addition, the position of the reaction plane is plotted as a function of the potential difference between the electrode and the adjacent solution. Predicted current-potential and current efficiency-potential curves are also reported. Finally, the iron contamination of the deposited copper is estimated to be less than 10-5 atom percent for some cases. Also, because some of the partial current densities are below their limiting values, the analysis is strictly valid only at the center of the disk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-676
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1977


  • current efficiency
  • homogeneous reaction
  • hydrometallurgy
  • migration effect
  • reaction plane
  • rotating-disk electrode
  • simultaneous electrode reactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry

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