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topic 0835

Glycolic acid use in metal finishing


We sell glycolic acid through distributors, and know that some of their customers have used it in metal finishing -- electroplating and/or electropolishing -- but haven't been able to find out exactly how or why it is used. Can anyone help us learn more about its use in this industry?

E.A. Eschborn -
specialty chemicals


We could tell you, but then we'd have to kill you. That is, if you intend to compete against us metal finishing companies. Tell us more about why we should tell you.

Craig Burkart

Craig Burkart signature
Craig Burkart
- Naperville, Illinois


You might get a few people to tell you, but the best way is to have people in your company dedicated to the electroplating/finishing industry that understand what the various groups of chemicals are for, like cyanide, and help the suppliers develop better products. I guess a literature search in the plating patents would give you a good idea on glycolates.

tom pullizi signature
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township, Pennsylvania


Thanks for your replies. Our company has no intention of getting into the metal finishing business ourselves! We just want to supply a raw material to folks who ARE in that business. If we knew why people might use glycolic acid in metal finishing, it would allow us to modify our offering to try to provide more value to the metal finishing industry and hopefully to sell you more of it. What in the chemistry makes it work for you? What could we do that would make it easier for you to use (additives, packaging, etc.)? What other information would allow you to compare its functionality with that of other not-in-kind competition? It is unlikely that we will have someone in this company dedicated to that market -- this is not a very large one for us, and we have been in the cutback mode -- but I will look for patents. Good idea. Meanwhile, any other guidance you could give us on where to start would be terrific!

E.A. Eschborn


I also use glycolic acid in cleaning filtration equipment. It seems to work well in hard water areas. Any similar behavior in metal finishing?

James Clements
- Brentwood, New Hampshire


I don't plan on competing. I am only trying to find glycolic acid to use in a foot cream. I make natural body lotions, and need the glycolic acid for a recipe. I can't seem to find anyone selling, though. Can you help?

Danyell Coleman
starting new business - Chicago, Illinois, USA

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