Titanium chemistry in HF and HNO3 chemical milling
A discussion started in 2008 & continuing through 2017
November 20, 2008
Q. To effectively evaluate potential titanium removal techniques from a HF/HNO3 chemical milling operation, I am looking to obtain information about the basic titanium chemistry that occurs. Any feedback would be most appreciated.
consultant - Rochester, New York
November 25, 2008
A. The etching chemistry is rather straightforward. The HF is used to dissolve the titanium for form titanium fluoride. The nitric acid is used to dissolve the vanadium and aluminum found in most alloys.
The dissolved titanium is difficult to remove. I am currently seeking a patent on a process to economically remove the titanium to extend bath life nearly indefinitely.
Best of Luck.
Kansas City, Missouri
December 1, 2008
A. The etching chemistry is NOT rather straightforward.
The process of dissolving of Ti in HF/HNO3 mixture depend on changes in concentration of HF and HNO3, and the extent of the depletion of the solution, and the temperature: depending on these conditions etching process may be in active or passive stage. In the first case - the process is accompanied by gaseous hydrogen embrittlement, in the second - titanium dissolves in the passive state, with good surface strength. It is possible to distinguish the two types of processes and prevent titanium surface damage by control of the potential of titanium electrode on an appropriate model. We always put such controls.
December 2, 2008
A. I must side with Anna.
Not too long ago, I was involved in a project that entailed a nitric/HF mixture used for removing "alpha case" from Ti alloys after heat treating. As I recall, the ratio of the two acids was more critical than the absolute concentration of either.
I believe that the Ti is present in the spent acid mixture as hexafluorotitanate ion. Titanium is an odd beast in aqueous solution; it acts more like a non metal.
Consultant - The Bronx, New York
January 14, 2009
Q. Can anyone provide the balanced chemical equations for chem milling titanium with hydrofluoric acid? I had an internship where they used an HF chem mill to remove the alpha case and about a hundredth of an inch from parts made of Ti.
now I'm curious how the whole thing really worked.
- Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
January 21, 2009
A. Here's a WAG (wild ass guess):
Ti + 6HF --> H2TiF6 + 2H2
Consultant - The Bronx, New York
January 23, 2009
I would not bet a free cup of coffee on it, but I think that the product in Dave's equation is TiF6 for the complex molecule Ti hexafluoride, and 3H2's.
- Navarre, Florida
January 24, 2009
Titanium forms a very stable complex with hydrogen fluoride:
- Brilon, Germany, EU
Titanium etch chemical ratiosNovember 28, 2017 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread
Q. Hi all.
I am required to carry out an etch on a titanium component prior to conducting a fluorescent penetrant test. The maintenance manual that I am using details which chemicals to use; however I'm finding it difficult to decipher. The data I have is as follows:
MATERIAL CONTROL RANGE
Nitric Acid (HNO3, 42 BE, 70%) 4.5%
Ammonium Bi-Fluoride 6.4 oz/gal.
It's obvious that from the data above that i need a 70% concentration nitric acid and an ammonium bifluoride of 6.4 oz/gal. I am then required to mix the two together to create the etch solution, however what is the mix ratio? Or do i have it wrong and I have to mix 6.4oz of ammonium bifluoride per gallon of 70% nitric acid? I also don't understand the "CONTROL RANGE" heading, what is the 4.5%?
Any help appreciated; I don't have any experience with this kind of thing. Please don't post alternate etch solutions, I must use the chemicals as stated in the maintenance manual I am using.
Non-Destructive Testing - Perth, Western Australia, Australia
January 18, 2018
A. Hello Anthony!
To me, it appears you buy 42 degrees Baume nitric acid, which is a standard reagent available from many chemical supply houses. You mix that standard concentration of nitric acid with water to make a 4.5% solution of nitric acid in water. Then you add the ammonium bi-fluoride at the 6.4 ounces per gal ratio.
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