Posts Tagged ‘steel’

Electrophoresis electrodes.

October 5, 2011

I have been trying to determine which materials work for electrophoresis electrodes.  My hope was that I could find something cheaper than platinum (I know it will work but it cost a lot).  Below are some things I have tried and the results.

  • Copper – Dissolves in solution and makes the solution blue-green (based on reports from various websites, only listed material I did not test).
  • Generic wire (22 gauge) – Mix of copper and iron.  Works as an anode but not a cathode.  As an anode copper leaked into solution and the wire became green and red striped, presumably because the braided strands were different materials.
  • Sterling silver (24 gauge) – Mix of silver (~90%), copper (~5%), and other elements.  Does not work for anode and I have not tested it as a cathode.  As an anode it leaked copper into solution, a black precipitate formed (steel was the cathode in this test) on top of both electrodes and the majority of the wire disintegrated.
  • Braided steel cable (around 1mm in diamter) – Intended as a “steel leader” for fishing.  Works as an anode but not as a cathode.  If it is used as a cathode it will disintegrate and break.
The failures I had have finally convinced me to purchased platinum wire.  The platinum will work for sure but I do not know if what I bought was thick enough so I will have to wait until it arrives in the mail.