Electrodeposition of Zinc in Non-Aqueous Systems: Insights from COMSOL® Simulations

Kranthi Kumar Maniam1, Shiladitya Paul2
1Materials Innovation Centre, School of Engineering, University of Leicester
2Materials Performance and Integrity Group, TWI
Published in 2023

The electrodeposition of zinc plays a crucial role in various industrial applications, ranging from corrosion protection to battery technology. In recent years, non-aqueous systems have gained attention as alternative electrolytes due to their unique properties and potential advantages. This abstract presents a study on the electrodeposition of zinc using non-aqueous systems, employing the versatile COMSOL Multiphysics® software for simulations and analysis. The problem setup in the COMSOL® software involves creating a two-dimensional electrochemical model to investigate the zinc electrodeposition process in a non-aqueous electrolyte. The governing equations for mass transport, charge transfer, and electrochemical reactions are integrated into the model to accurately represent the complex phenomena involved.

To simulate the electrochemical process, the Electrodeposition Module in COMSOL® was utilised to model the electrical potential distribution and current densities on the electrode surface. Furthermore, the study harnesses the capabilities of the Application Libraries, accessing built-in electrochemistry and electrodeposition interfaces, and material properties databases. This allowed for more accurate and efficient simulations by incorporating relevant electrochemical models and parameters. Rotating cylinder hull cell and the electroplating of multiple racks in a tank from the application library was utilised to develop a model the electrodeposition of zinc process. The Application Builder in COMSOL® is leveraged to create a user-friendly interface, enabling easy manipulation of key parameters such as current density, temperature, and electrolyte composition. Various scenarios were explored to understand their impact on the zinc electrodeposition process.

The obtained results provide valuable insights into the electrodeposition process of zinc in non-aqueous systems. The simulations reveal the influence of key parameters, such as current density and temperature, on the deposition rate and thickness of the zinc layer. Additionally, the effect of different non-aqueous electrolyte compositions on the quality and morphology of the deposited zinc is thoroughly examined. The study highlights the importance of carefully selecting the electrolyte composition to achieve desirable zinc coatings with enhanced properties.

In conclusion, this research demonstrates the effectiveness of COMSOL® software in simulating the electrodeposition of zinc using non-aqueous systems. The use of the Electrodeposition Module, the Application Libraries, and the Application Builder allows for a comprehensive understanding of the electrochemical processes involved. The obtained results shed light on the optimization of zinc electrodeposition in non-aqueous systems, which can have broad implications for the development of advanced materials and electrochemical devices in various industries.