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Metallographic Zinc Etchants

Metallographic Etching

Zinc Alloy Etchants

The most common etchant for zinc alloys is Nital, however, there are numerous more specific etchants. A good resouce for additional etchants can be found with the etchant database provided by PACE Technologies, http://www.metallographic.com/Consumables/Etch.htm

Sample Preparation: Zinc alloys must be properly prepared to reveal the true metallographic microstructure. A number of recommended procedures can be found at the following links:

http://www.metallographic.com/Procedures/Lead-tin-zinc%20Description.htm

http://www.metallographic.com/Brochures/Met-Manual-2b.pdf

CAUTION: Safety is very important when etching. Be sure to wear the appropriate protective clothing and observe all WARNINGS on chemical manufacturers SDS (Safety Data Sheets). Also review COMMENTS Section for each etchant.

Etchant

Conc.

Conditions

Comments

Distilled water or Ethanol
Hydrochloric acid

100 ml
1-5 ml

Several minutes

Zinc and zinc alloys

Distilled water
Sodium Hydroxide

100 ml
10 grams

 1-5 seconds

Low alloy zinc and pure zinc

Distilled water
CrO3
Na2SO4

100 ml
20 grams
1-5 grams

Seconds

Swabbing


Metallographic micrograph of etched zinc-aluminum alloy
Zinc-aluminum alloy, 200X B.F., (etchant CrO3, Na2SO4)

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