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Chemical etching of steel

March 8, 2009

I want to know what happens chemically when we immerse a piece of steel in a mixture of concentrated nitric acid and hydrogen peroxide.
What is the hazards of this reaction.

Azadeh Seify
interested in researching - Iran

March 10, 2009

Hi, Azadeh. Unfortunately it still occasionally happens that people put an unidentified piece of carbon steel in a nitric acid bath thinking they are passivating stainless steel. It can evolve copious amounts of nitric gasses. I don't know what effect the hydrogen peroxide additions would have. But if you want people to openly share their knowledge with you, please don't post in a guarded fashion. Please tell us where you heard of this, why you think it's promising, what exactly you mean by etching in this context, etc. Thanks.


pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 11, 2009

Concentrated nitric acid is a very strong oxidizer as is any peroxide. I think that under the right conditions you could be looking at a low order explosion, which would be disastrous.
Are you sure that it was nitric. Peroxide is frequently used with dilute sulfuric acid.
Adding peroxide to any acid can result in serious out gassing and overflowing of the tank. If you do not know what you are doing, don't do it.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

March 17, 2009

The reaction you are searching produces very toxic NOx gas.
The H2O2 just make this reaction stronger.
Be sure , that people are far away from this experiment.

Gabriel Schonwald
Bnei Berak, Israel

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