Engraving at home

How to make make inscription on spoon using electricity

Does en­grav­ing seem too com­pli­cat­ed and spe­cial­ized to try? Here’s a sim­ple way to en­grave a spoon at home!

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

  • At­ten­tion! Ob­serve safe­ty pre­cau­tions when work­ing with fire.
  • Con­duct the ex­per­i­ment only un­der adult su­per­vi­sion.

Reagents and equip­ment

  • spoon (stain­less steel rec­om­mend­ed);
  • sodi­um chlo­ride so­lu­tion (2 Tbsp salt in 200mL wa­ter);
  • 2 cups;
  • 2 tea lights;
  • alu­minum con­tain­er;
  • bat­tery with 4 AAA bat­ter­ies;
  • 2 croc­o­dile clip wires;
  • wood­en stick;
  • hot wa­ter;
  • pa­per tow­el.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Melt the can­dle wax in the alu­minum con­tain­er and coat your spoon with it, leav­ing one area bare – you’ll need to con­nect a croc­o­dile clip to it lat­er. When the wax hard­ens, use a wood­en stick to scratch an in­scrip­tion or draw­ing through the wax down to the met­al. Add 2 ta­ble­spoons of ta­ble salt to a glass of wa­ter and mix un­til com­plete­ly dis­solved. Low­er the wax-cov­ered seg­ment of the spoon into the so­lu­tion. Con­nect the spoon to the pos­i­tive elec­trode us­ing a croc­o­dile clip. To close the cir­cuit, put the croc­o­dile clip wire con­nect­ed to the neg­a­tive elec­trode in the salt so­lu­tion. Ob­serve as a gas is re­leased and a sed­i­ment forms. Wait ten min­utes. To re­move the wax, im­merse the spoon in hot wa­ter for 2 min­utes and wipe with a pa­per tow­el – your draw­ing should be etched in the met­al.

Process de­scrip­tion

When sodi­um chlo­ride NaCl dis­solves in wa­ter, it de­com­pos­es into Na+ and Cl- ions. This process is called dis­so­ci­a­tion, and is what al­lows such a so­lu­tion to con­duct elec­tri­cal cur­rent. When the spoon is con­nect­ed to the bat­tery and the cir­cuit is closed, ions move and an elec­tric cur­rent flows through the so­lu­tion. The bare met­al dis­solves on the pos­i­tive elec­trode, and hy­dro­gen gas is re­leased on the neg­a­tive elec­trode. The process oc­cur­ring on the pos­i­tive elec­trode is:

Fe⁰ - 2e = Fe²⁺

Fe⁰ - 3e = Fe³⁺

The process oc­cur­ring on the neg­a­tive elec­trode is:

2H₂O + 2e = H₂↑ + 2OH⁻

An­oth­er chem­i­cal process also oc­curs in the so­lu­tion: the re­sult­ing re­ac­tion prod­ucts in­ter­act with each oth­er and pre­cip­i­tate as iron(II) and (III) hy­drox­ides.

Fe²⁺ + 2OH⁻ = Fe(OH)₂↓

Fe³⁺ + 3OH⁻ = Fe(OH)₃↓

When a sub­stance chem­i­cal­ly de­com­pos­es un­der the in­flu­ence of elec­tric cur­rent, this is known as elec­trol­y­sis.