A website for Serious Education, promoting Aloha,
& the most FUN smiley you can have in metal amadeya42

on this site
current topics
topic 41079

Etching titanium

A discussion started in 2001 but continuing through 2018


Q. I am trying to remember a titanium etch based on EDTA. I need an etch that has no HF and would prefer not using hot H2O2. Can you help?

Chet Brewer
-Durham, North Carolina


A. Dear Chet,

I am sorry that I can't give you an answer to your question in the moment. I am looking for a process to remove a thin Titanium layer (15nm) without destroying the underneath Oxide layer (Therefore I can't use HF). Do you have an idea? Thank you in advance and best regards.

Ralf Steingrueber
Heinrich-Hertz-Institut - Berlin, Germany


Q. Does anyone know how can I etch titanium with low speed (max 100 Angstroms /min )?


Novello F [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Roma, Italy


Q. I am looking for an etchant that will remove a one micron layer of Titanium film without any effect on the gold layer under the titanium.
Any suggestions?
Can one explain the chemistry of the etching process?

Anil Dholakia
Electronics device developer - Jessup, Maryland


A. Dear Anil,

Try 0.5% HF solution. (Take necessary safety precaution). If your Ti layer has a thick oxide layer it will be while, but once the oxide layer is gone the Ti layer just crumbles you can see the H2 bubbling from the solution.


Karthik Thambidurai
- Austin, Texas


A. You can try HF with various concentration. Since you only want to etch 1 micron, start from the low side. Plus, you can add CrO3 or HNO3 to HF. I heard acetic acid also etches
Ti, you can give it a try.

Yi-Chung Su
metal processing - Taiwan

To minimize searching and offer multiple viewpoints, we've combined multiple threads into the dialog you're viewing. Please forgive any resultant repetition or failures of chronological order.


Q. We are making very small titanium parts for the consumer industry. We are investment casting various titanium and zirconium alloys. We want to try etching with concentrations of pure Nitric and water rather than mess with Hydrofluoric.

These are not aerospace applications although some are medical. Can I do this?

Scott Jackson
- Fort Myers, Florida

simultaneous (2006)

A. I can surely be wrong, but I doubt if any concentration of nitric will etch Ti. You do not have to use HF acid which is nasty!It does go from being an 800 pound tiger to a wild pussy cat with lowering%. The safer option is to replace the HF acid with ammonium bi fluoride which is a white crystal. The resulting nitric- ammonium bi fluoride solution is not much worse than the nitric alone. It does require proper training and safety equipment. You should also talk to your local hospital or emergency services so they can carry the correct burn materials. If they look at you like an idiot, tell them to look up the treatment for HF acid burns.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


A. Try a mixture of 5% sodium hydroxide and 5% hydrogen peroxide for etching titanium. It is a fairly slow process, requiring possibly an hour or longer, depending on how deep you need to etch.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
South Carolina

Titanium etch (polishing) for anodising purposes


Q. Hello,

I make Swiss knives and some are made out of or with parts of titanium, either CP or 6al4v

For anodising it to bright colors I have to high polish them, that's tough and intensive work and if I have, say, milled grooves etc I can't manually polish it down in there... so I think about etching that titanium surface...have asked my chemical supplier and they have no idea...any suggestions?

thanks a lot!

Roger Remund
swiss knives - Worb, Be, Switzerland


A. Hi. Weak HF 1% but may give fine grain etch.
Hydrofluoric Acid.

Andrew Hunt
inventor - Wales


If you want high-level polish without any environmental issue we suggest to contact us about titanium electropolishing technology in acid-free electrolyte. You can polish many pieces together. No special equipment is required.

Anna Berkovich
Russamer Labs
supporting advertiser
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
russamer labs banner

To minimize searching and offer multiple viewpoints, we've combined multiple threads into the dialog you're viewing. Please forgive any resultant repetition or failures of chronological order.

Top Articles

non conductive wedding ring remove musty smells silver nitrate and copper equation round woodstove basement odor eliminator stainless steel adhesive film home depot turtle wax how to polish aluminum rims what to do if you inhale bleach michelangelo silverware guardian service pots semi wheel polishing machine better silver stains on roof shingles is 925 silver worth anything lowes tin ceiling tiles paint drop ceiling tiles

Titanium etching without HF


Q. Hi,

I need to etch titanium parts before anodization, I know the usual HNO3 + HF etchant. But I need to have very polished surface before anodization, like a mirror, and the etching makes my surface rougher.

Does anyone know any etchant that does not affect the roughness of the titanium substrate?

Pablo [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
UPC - Barcelona, Spain


A. Ammonium bi fluoride is a safer source of fluoride ion, but HF is easier to use (ignoring safety). What you need is a weaker solution and keep your nitric content at about 14 times the HF content. When it gets below 10X you run a risk of serious pitting.With the weaker solution it is easier to find the least amount of etch that will serve your needs. That is because the reaction is going slower.
Try it in the lab on some scrap that you polish.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


A. Try uspto.gov webpages,patent no.4 554 050(EDTA based titanium etchant).Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

April 2, 2008

Q. Pablo
I need etching Titanium metal can you show me the solution, concentration and time. Thank you in advance.

Oanh [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Hanoi and Viet Nam


Q. I find that there is some staining of titanium and sometimes tungsten, utilizing common etching chemistry. This appears surface in nature. Any feedback?

Karen M. Schlichter
- Plymouth, Massachusetts

To minimize searching and offer multiple viewpoints, we've combined multiple threads into the dialog you're viewing. Please forgive any resultant repetition or failures of chronological order.


Q. I would like to know the correct proportion of the etchant for Titanium. I use an etch with 1.8% HF, 5.6%HNO3 and water. This etch clearly etched Ti deposited in one machine while it doesn't etch the Ti deposited in another similar sputter system. The two Ti films differ only in the amount of oxygen present in them. I am wondering whether the etch that I use is very mild so that it etches only the impure films.

researcher - Canada


A. Try upping your concentration of nitric... I don't know how it will perform under your conditions but I know that I've maintained a Ti etch bath at 2.5 oz/gallon HF and 55 oz/gallon HNO3.

Good luck!

Jim Gorsich
Accurate Anodizing Inc.
supporting advertiser
Compton, California, USA
accurate anodizing banner


A. To avoid pitting, keep the nitric strength about 14 times the HF concentration, and no lower than 10.
You might want to have an outside lab check your concentrations. If they are really identical, they both have to work.
The other variable is the amount of dissolved Ti. As it builds up the rate of reaction decreases drastically.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

Titanium Deox/etch

November 30, 2017 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I am doing some titanium anodizing and discovered that etching the parts prior to anodize tremendously improves the color and luster throughout the spectrum. I dip the parts in a mixture of HF and Nitric acid for a few seconds and it works wonders. However, the issue I have is that I need to transfer the parts from the acid bath to a rinse solution VERY quickly or the parts react 'undesirably' with the air during the transfer resulting in a white smut on the surface. Is there a better way to do this to retain the nice clean luster that the HF/Nitric bath produces and avoid having to re-dip?

Adam Marchese
- St. Augustine, Florida USA

December 11, 2017


We use our own formula of "greener" version to clean titanium prior to anodizing. The colors are of not so 'poisonous" shades, as after regular etching.

adv. Contact me for consulting.

Also we can recommend titanium surface preparation under small electrical current. This method works fine for basket color anodizing.

Anna Berkovich
Russamer Labs
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

January 19, 2018

Q. I would like to etch oxidised layer of Titanium in the way that only thin layers are dissolved by etchant and not too much effect on strong thick oxidised one. Is this possible?
Could anyone please suggest me any acidic solution? (which may cause pitting in weak areas)?

arash maz
- Australia, Adelaide

January 2018

A. Hi cousin Arash. The acid doesn't know which oxides you wish to attack and which you don't. So hoping that it will completely dissolve it in some areas while not doing significant dissolution in others is chancy.

The way that selective etching is usually done is to mask the areas you don't want etched, and remove the masking after the etching.

You haven't told us anything about YOUR SITUATION yet, but if this is just a one-time hobbyist project, it's possible that something as simple and ubiquitous as electrician's tape will serve as a maskant. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

January 23, 2018

Q. Thank you for your kind reply.
As far as I understood some sections on the surface of titanium can be corroded prior to others, particularly those sites which exhibit higher surface energy than others, my main question is, having lower oxide thickness, when it's compared to thick one, can be regarded as the sites with higher surface energy and finally get corroded faster?
In other words, can difference in thickness of oxide layer lead to localised corrosion? If so, how?

arash maz [returning]
- Australia, adeliade

This public forum has 60,000 threads. If you have a question in mind which seems off topic to this thread, you might prefer to Search the Site


Disclaimer: It's not possible to diagnose a amadeya42 problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations may be deliberately harmful.

If you need a product/service, please check these Directories:

JobshopsCapital Equip. & Install'nChemicals & Consumables Consult'g, Train'g, SoftwareEnvironmental ComplianceTesting Svcs. & Devices

©1995-2018 amadeya42.com, Inc., Pine Beach, NJ - -