Etchant for mild steel is available commercially, but can also be made at home. It is important to understand the chemical processes behind etching so that the user can make necessary adjustments to the etchant formula and proportions to best fit their needs. The following are some of the benefits of etchant for mild steel;
- Etchant for mild steel is cheap and easy to make.
This is a very inexpensive and easy to make etchant. It can be made with ingredients that are readily available in local supermarkets or hardware stores, the only exception being the mild steel wool which must be purchased from a welding suppliers store.
- Etchant for mild steel does not produce any harmful fumes.
Etchant for mild steel works by producing hydrogen gas as a result of chemical reactions between substances in the solution and the metal surface. Because there is no direct transfer of chemicals into gaseous form, there is no unpleasant smell and it does not cause any harm to nearby plants and vegetation even if accidentally spilled on them. This is an advantage over commercial etchants such as ferric chloride where after use, relatively large quantities of wet sludge is left behind which must be disposed of in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.
- Etchant for mild steel is effective in removing corrosion from metal surfaces without affecting the color or shape of the original metal surface.
The watery nature of etchant for mild steel means that it does not damage the original look and texture of the metal surface, nor does it affect its color. This can be advantageous to people who do not want their pieces changed by the process, especially if they are delicate or have artistic nuances that should not be altered after cleaning with ordinary acids such as vinegar and muriatic acid where discoloration often occurs along with weakening of joints due to chemical degradation. However, etchant for mild steel cannot remove rust from metal surfaces, only clean it for further work.
- Etchant for mild steel is less hazardous than commercial or industrial cleaning chemicals.
Etchant for mild steel is not as dangerous to handle and use in comparison with commercial etchants such as ferric chloride which can cause skin corrosion when spilt on the hands or accidents when handled carelessly during the process of etching metal objects with them.
- Etchant for mild steel can be easily stored away after use if mixed properly in the original proportions given in the recipe below.
- Etchant for mild steel does not produce much sludge residue when prepared correctly in the original proportions. This can be advantageous to people who use etchant for mild steel frequently because it saves time required in draining and drying out large amounts of liquid accumulated in the bottom of containers after use.
If made correctly, there will be no formation of bubbles which makes storage easy because they are unlikely to explode due to high pressure build up due to gas over time while being stored at room temperature. The chemicals in the solution need not be replaced, only their proportions adjusted for optimum results when used again in another etching process.