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topic 4246

Removing nickel from brass


Hi there, Right now, I am feeling a little lost reading the post on this site. However, looking at the level of knowledge out here, I'll bet someone can answer my simple question. Can you remove nickel from brass with a muriatic or hydrochloric acid bath? I am restoring old lamp and faucet parts and would like to remove old thin layers of left over nickel. I know this will work with chrome, but is nickel a little more difficult to remove? And if it will work what is the best ratio of water to acid? Thanks ahead of time for your help?

Marietta Walker
- Missouri, USA


Yes, it's easy to remove chrome (although perhaps not safe since it involves acid). But, no, you will not be able to remove the nickel with any common material available to a lay person. Talk to Metalx [a supporting advertiser] about nickel strippers.

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


I note your comments about the removal of nickel. I have previously, successfully removed nickel from brass using a saturated salt solution in water of air temperature, 12 v DC current and a copper? or brass? electrode, I can't remember which, nor can I remember the polarity (I think positive electrode and negative on the piece being stripped) with the solution being in a plastic container. It worked very well (I was working on a antique kerosene lamp part). I would appreciate you comments about this process.

Stuart Driver
- New South Wales, Australia


If it worked for you, good, Stuart. The item being stripped would be connected to the positive, and the material of construction of the cathode doesn't really matter. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and, usually, a brass item "dezincifies" when it is made anodic like that because nickel is far more noble than zinc (zinc goes into solution far more readily than nickel). If such etching did not occur for you, or was kept within tolerable limits, that's good to hear, but it's not the usual case.

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

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