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Metallographic Etching On-line ordering link

PACE Technologies metallographic Etching consumables Metallographic Etching Technical Information


Etching is a process for revealing the structure of the material, common etching techniques include:

The two most common techniques are chemical and electrochemical etching. Chemical etching is typically a combination of either an acid or base with an oxidizing or reducing agent in a solute such as an alcohol. Electrochemical etching is a combination of chemical etching with an electrical voltage/current.

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PACE Technologies metallographic Etching consumables

Common Etchants

There are a number of more common etching solutions. Several of them are listed in the folowing table.

The following table lists the most commonly used etchants

Etchant Composition Conc. Conditions Comments
ASTM No. 30 Ammonia
Hydrogen Peroxide (3%)
DI Water
62.5 ml
125 ml
62.5 ml
Mix Ammonia and water before adding peroxide. Must be used fresh. Swab 5-45 seconds For etching copper, copper alloys and copper-silver alloys.
Adler Etchant Copper ammonium chloride
Hydrochloric acid
Ferric chloride, hydrated
DI Water
9 grams
150 ml
45 grams
75 ml
Immersion is recommended for several seconds For etching 300 series stainless steel and other superalloys
Carpenters Stainless Steel Etch FeCl3
Hydrochloric acid
Nitric acid
8.5 grams
2.4 grams
122 ml
6 ml
122 ml
Immersion etching at 20 degrees Celsius For etching duplex and 300 series stainless steels.
Kalling's No. 2 CuCl2
Hydrochloric acid
5 grams
100 ml
100 ml
Immersion or swabbing etch at 20 degrees Celsius For etching duplex and 400 series stainless steels and Ni-Cu alloys and superalloys.
Kellers Etch Distilled water
Nitric acid
Hydrochloric acid
Hydrofluoric acid
190 ml
5 ml
3 ml
2 ml
10-30 second immersion. Use only fresh etchant Excellent for aluminum and titanium alloys.
Klemm's Reagent Sodium thiosulfate
Potassium metabisulfite
250 ml Saturated
5 grams
Etch for a few seconds to minutes For etching alpha-beta brass, bonze, tin, cast iron phosphides, ferrite, martensite, retained austenite, zinc and steel temper embrittlement.
Kroll’s Reagent Distilled water
Nitric acid
Hydrofluoric acid
92 ml
6 ml
2 ml

Swab specimen up to 20 seconds
Excellent for titanium and alloys.
Nital Ethanol
Nitric acid
100 ml
1-10 ml
Immersion up to a few minutes. Most common etchant for Fe, carbon and alloys steels and cast iron - Immerse sample up from seconds to minutes; Mn-Fe, MnNi, Mn-Cu, Mn-Co alloys.
Marble's Reagent CuSO4
Hydrochloric acid
10 grams
50 ml
50 ml
Immerse or swab for
5-60 seconds.
For etching Ni, Ni-Cu and Ni-Fe alloys and superalloys. Add a few drops of H2SO4 to increase activity.
Murakami's K3Fe(CN)6
10 grams
10 grams
100 ml
Pre-mix KOH and water before adding
Cr and alloys (use fresh and immerse); iron and steels reveals carbides; Mo and alloys uses fresh and immerse; Ni-Cu alloys for alpha phases use at 75 Celcius; W and alloys use fresh and immerse; WC-Co and complex sintered carbides.
Picral Ethanol
Picric acid
100 ml
2-4 grams
Seconds to minutes
Do not let etchant crystallize or dry –explosive
Recommended for microstructures containing ferrite, carbide, pearlite, martensite and bainite. Also useful for magnetic alloys, cast iron, high alloy stainless steels and magnesium.
Vilella’s Reagent Picric Acid
Hydrochloric acid
1 gram
5 ml
100 ml
Seconds to minutes Good for ferrite-carbide structures (tempered martensite) in iron and steel

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PACE Technologies metallographic Etching consumables
Etchant Database

Metallographic etchant database

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PACE Technologies metallographic Etching consumables

Etching Product Descriptions

Description Common Stainless Steels etchants Catalog Number
Adlers etchant Very effective for etching austenitic 300 series stainless steels (250 ml) ADLERS
Carpenters 300 Series Stainless Steel Etchant (250 ml) CARPENTERS
Kalling's No. 2 Martensitic 400 series stainless steels (250 ml) KALLINGS No. 2
Frys Reagent Precipitation hardened stainless steels (250 ml) FRYS Reagent

Description Common Copper and Brass etchants Catalog Number
ASTM No. 30 Copper etchant (250 ml) ASTM No. 30
Copper No. 1 Copper & Brass (nitric acid and DI water) (250 ml) COPPER No. 1
Copper No. 2 Copper & Brass (HCl and ferric chloride) (250 ml) COPPER No. 2
Klemms Stain etch for brass (250 ml) KLEMMS

Description Most common Steel etchants Catalog Number
2-8% Nital Most common etchant for non-heat treated or welded steels (250 ml) NITAL-2 to NITAL-8
Picral Heat treated steels (250 ml) PICRAL
Copper No. 2 Copper & Brass (HCl and ferric chloride) (250 ml) VIELLA'S

Description Most common Aluminum and Titanium etchants Catalog Number
Kellers Most common etchant for aluminum alloys (250 ml) KELLERS
Kroll's Most common etchant for titanium (250 ml) KROLLS
Titanium Attack Polish Used as a CMP polishing compound for titanium (500 ml) TI-AP-16

Description Nickel, Iron, Chromium alloys Catalog Number
Marble's Nickel, nickel-iron alloys (250 ml) MARBLES
Murakami's Chromium alloys (250 ml) MURAKAMIS
Waterless Kalling's Iron and nickel base alloys (250 ml) WATERLESS KALLINGS

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