Historically, glass has actually been etched through the corrosive and also dangerous hydrofluoric acid, a combination of hydrogen and also fluorine. Since of the reactivity, hydrofluoric acid must be save in polyethylene or polytetrafluoroethylene containers. The acidic salt ammonium bifluoride has actually sometimes been formulated with other substances to form a “safer” etchant because that glass. Unfortunately, this may cause a false sense of security. Ammonium bifluoride is compounded v inert ingredients, and also though not quite so solid as right hydrofluoric acid, is qualified of inflicting similar damage.

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Hydrofluoric acid may reason severe damage due to the fact that of its particularly corrosive nature. For instance, one may acquire a little bit of the acid under a fingernail. And also the acid have the right to eat clear to the bone. Hydrofluoric acid"s fumes can damages or ruin the cornea. An ext than a couple of people have actually lost their stays to hydrofluoric acid.


Fluorine own the highest possible affinity towards electrons among elements known to man. For this reason it is the most “electronegative” of the elements. Fluorine deserve to displace the very electronegative oxygen from its bond with various other elements. In the instance of silicon oxide, the hydrofluoric mountain reacts to produce a chemical complex--a new acid--hydrofluosilicic acid. For this reason the equation reads, SiO2 + 6 HF --> H2SiF6 + 2 H2O This equation tells us that one molecule that silica plus six molecules that hydrofluoric acid, produce one molecule that hydrofluosilicic acid plus 2 molecules of water.


This reaction results in the remove of few of the silica from the surface ar of the glass thing from the oxide matrix, leave a roughened, frosted appearance. The reaction is not an overly fast reaction, and so the is easily controlled to create a useful creative product. To guarantee that the etching occurs just where it is desired, wax or some other nonreactive substance is applied where etching is unwanted. Glass objects can then it is in etched with a portrait, a landscape scene or some various other artwork.


Most that the most common reactive creams thought about safer for usage by the less trained, use ammonium bifluoride. Treatment must still be applied, instructions followed and safety precautions taken. Recommended protective gloves have to be worn to defend from the corrosive nature of every fluoride etchants.

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Hydrofluoric acid and other fluoride substances are hazardous substances. Be sure to consult the manufacturer"s MSDS sheet. In addition, the government makes online provision via the MSDS find Nationwide Repository.


Vincent Summers obtained his Bachelor the Science level in chemistry indigenous Drexel university in 1973. He advanced his education and learning through the college of Virginia's citizens Scholar program program, taking many courses in organic and also quantum chemistry. He has written technical articles since 2010.