Molybdenum Etchants

Molybdenum is a refractory metal known for its high melting point, excellent heat resistance, and exceptional strength. Chemical etching of molybdenum is a process used to create precise patterns, markings, or designs on molybdenum surfaces. This process is often employed in the aerospace, electronics, and metallurgical industries. Here’s a guide on commonly used methods for etching molybdenum and how to set important parameters for effective molybdenum etching:

Commonly Used Molybdenum Etchants

  1. Nitric Acid (HNO3) and Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) Mixture


  • Electronics: Molybdenum is used in electronic components, and etching can be employed for quality control, surface treatment, and marking.
  • Aerospace: Molybdenum is used in aerospace applications, and etching may be used for surface preparation and quality inspection.

Setting Parameters:

  • Concentration: The mixture of nitric acid and hydrofluoric acid can vary in concentration depending on the specific etching requirements. Common concentrations range from 5% to 20% for nitric acid and 1% to 5% for hydrofluoric acid.
  • Etching Time: The etching time varies based on the desired result and the thickness of the molybdenum, ranging from seconds to several minutes.
  • Temperature: The etching process is often performed at room temperature, but the specific temperature may vary depending on the application.

Setting Parameters in a Molybdenum Etching Operation

For an effective molybdenum etching operation using the nitric acid and hydrofluoric acid mixture as an example:


  • Mix the nitric acid and hydrofluoric acid in the desired proportions for the specific etching task. Be precise and exercise caution as both acids can be hazardous.

Etching Time:

  • Determine the appropriate etching time based on the desired pattern or surface modification. Start with a short duration and adjust as needed.


  • Perform the etching at room temperature or the appropriate temperature for your specific application.


  • Prioritize safety when working with nitric acid and hydrofluoric acid. Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, safety goggles, and lab coats. Maintain a well-ventilated workspace with safety showers and eyewash stations.


  • Maintain proper ventilation to dissipate fumes and gases generated during the etching process. Use a fume hood if available.

Waste Disposal:

  • Dispose of used etchant solutions following local regulations, as nitric acid and hydrofluoric acid waste can be hazardous. Proper handling and disposal are crucial.

If you have an Molybdenum etching project that you need help with, please contact us