Tungsten Copper Etchants

Tungsten-copper (W-Cu) is a composite material composed of tungsten (W) and copper (Cu). It’s often used in applications where high thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity are required alongside the exceptional strength and high-temperature resistance of tungsten. Here’s a guide on commonly used methods for etching tungsten-copper and how to set essential parameters for effective etching.

Commonly Used Tungsten-Copper Etchants

  1. Ferric Chloride (FeCl3)


  • Electronics and Semiconductors: Tungsten-copper composites are used in electronic packaging and heat sinks. Etching can be employed for component fabrication.
  • Aerospace and Defense: Tungsten-copper components in these industries are etched for various applications, including thermal management.

Setting Parameters:

  • Temperature: Tungsten-copper etching with ferric chloride typically occurs at temperatures ranging from 35°C to 45°C (95°F to 113°F).
  • Concentration: A common concentration is around 40-45% ferric chloride in water. Ensure thorough mixing for consistent results.
  • Etching Time: The etching time varies based on the depth and complexity of the design but often falls within the range of 5-30 minutes.
  • Agitation: Employ an agitation mechanism within the etching equipment to maintain even etching and prevent the accumulation of byproducts.

Setting Parameters in a Tungsten-Copper Etching Operation

For an effective tungsten-copper etching operation using ferric chloride as an example:


  • Confirm and set the etching machine’s temperature control settings within the specified range of 35°C to 45°C.


  • Measure the required amount of ferric chloride accurately and mix it with water to achieve the desired concentration (e.g., 40-45%). Use calibrated instruments for precision.

Etching Time:

  • Determine the appropriate etching time based on the complexity and thickness of the tungsten-copper composite. Start with a shorter time and adjust as needed. Typically, a 10-15 minute initial test run is a good starting point.


  • Ensure that the etching equipment is equipped with an agitation system to maintain proper mixing of the ferric chloride solution throughout the etching process.


  • Prioritize safety by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, safety goggles, and lab coats. Maintain a well-ventilated workspace with safety showers and eyewash stations.

Waste Disposal:

  • Dispose of used etchant solutions in accordance with local regulations, as ferric chloride is often considered hazardous waste. Proper handling and disposal are essential.

If you have an Tungsten-Copper (W-Cu) etching project that you need help with, please contact us