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Fractal structures: Electrodeposited copper

A simple school science experiment is to electroplate an object with copper using a copper sulphate solution. If a little bit of sulphuric acid is added and the current density is chosen carefully, the growth of a film of copper can be controlled by a process called diffusion limited aggregation. This produces a dendritic structure type of growth whereby bumps grow on bumps and branches grow on branches, thus creating a very rough surface. When this type of surface is provided with a hydrophobic surface chemistry, it creates a surface on which droplets of water completely ball up and freely roll-off. Read more about the process in the paper listed below.


N.J. Shirtcliffe, G. McHale, M.I. Newton, G. Chabrol and C.C. Perry,
Wetting and wetting transitions on copper-based super-hydrophobic surfaces,
Langmuir 21 (3) (2005) 937-943.
Via ACS server

Additional Reading

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