eTraining Introduction

Specimen Preparation

Leica Ultracut UCT



Hitachi S-4700 FE-SEM

Hitachi FB-2000A FIB


Veeco Dim 3000 AFM

Fluorescence Microscopes



Steel Etching Procedure

Procedure by Ruth Kramer.

NOTE: There are many etchants available to use for steel. The correct etchants depend on the type of steel in your sample. Our labs commonly use 2% Nital, but we can formulate most any type of etchant needed.

One resource for learning more is MSDS Xchange, which includes an extensive collection of material safety data sheets. (See MSDS in General Lab Safety under Support.)

General Precautions

2% Nital Etching Procedure - Steel

1. Have a wash bottle of methanol handy. Pour a couple of milliliters of etchant from the stock chemical into a small beaker, rather than dipping into the stock and risking contamination. If the etchant contains HF, use plastic!    
2. Open the tap and allow water to run, turn on the fan, air, and light. VIEW
3. Take a small amount of cotton and make a swab. VIEW
4. Put on gloves and safety glasses, and apron if needed. VIEW
5. Pour a several ml of etchant into a beaker (Use plastic if your etch contains HF!) VIEW
6. Dip the swab into etchant. Apply to mount in a circular motion, until you just begin to see a haze appear on the polished surface. RINSE IMMEDIATELY under warm running water. Rinse with alcohol, dry. VIEW
7. THE FACE, SIDES, AND BACK of the sample must be COMPLETELY DRY before putting it on the microscope. VIEW
8. Discard the unused etchant, flush the drain with water, turn off the hood, water, fan, and lights.    

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