Preparing materials and products for testing or machining sometimes requires etching or chemical milling. Etching is a form of chemical processing that uses acids, bases, or other chemicals to clean a part or test sample of unwanted substances or to remove the top layers of a material. For testing purposes, etching can help reveal hidden flaws or defects in a part or component before submitting the sample to traditional destructive or nondestructive examination, metallography, microscopy, or other analytical technique.

The two main types of etching are wet and photochemical, the main difference being using a maskant such as paint, rubber, or vinyl versus using a photoresist (a light-sensitive material), respectively. Common etchants used in Element etching processes are Nital (nitric acid and alcohol), sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acids, ferric chloride, cupric chloride, ammonium persulfate, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and hydrofluoric acid. Element experts provide etching  to aerospace, defense, automotive, and other clients, in addition to other chemical processing services.

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Standards

ASTM International

ASTM A262 (Method E), ASTM A262 (Practice A), ASTM A262 (Practices A & E), ASTM A262 (Practices A, B, C, & E), ASTM A561, ASTM A604, ASTM A763, ASTM D3759, ASTM E45, ASTM E340, ASTM E381, ASTM E407, ASTM E646

SAE International

AMS 2643

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