Copper silica composite coatings are an attractive alternative to chromium and nickel coatings in order to avoid environmental problems and for application in electrical devices. However, co-deposition of SiO2 particles with metals occurs to a rather limited extent, generally under 1%, due to the hydrophilicity of SiO2, which makes the incorporation of particles in a metallic matrix difficult. To overcome this drawback, the influence of cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB) on the deposition and corrosion behavior of Cu–SiO2 coatings on steel has been studied. It was established that CTAB plays a beneficial role in SiO2 suspension stabilization, promotes the co-deposition of nanoparticles in the copper matrix and improves the deposit morphology and structure. Consequently, a higher corrosion resistance of Cu–SiO2 deposits obtained in the presence of CTAB was noticed. The most important effect was observed in the case when CTAB was used in concentration of 10−3 M in the electroplating bath.
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The authors thank Mr. Florin Popa, from Technical University Cluj-Napoca, for the SEM-EDX analyses and Prof. Claudine Filiâtre (Université Franche Comté, Institut UTINAM, Besançon, France) for the guidance of I. Zamblau during zeta potential measurements.