Metal Finishing Guide Book


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Gold may be recovered by dummying at low current density onto stainless steel cathodes, also using stainless steel anodes. High Carbon and Case-Hardened Steels High carbon steel can be heavily scaled. Both metals are susceptible to hydrogen embrittlement. In addition pickling high carbon steels may generate heavy surface smuts. Solutions containing sulfuric acid, fluorides, organic acid complexors, inhibitors, pickle aids, and wetting agents are preferred to process these metals. The acid bath surface tension is reduced to promote superior wetting of the substrate. Once the scale or smut is removed an inhibitor film forms to prevent additional pickling. This prevents hydrogen embrittlement of critical parts, such as spring steel, and repeated smutting of high carbon steels. In some process cycles a follow-up electrocleaner is required to remove the inhibitor film following the acid treatment. The final preplate dip should be a dilute, 3-5% v/v sulfuric acid solution to neutralize alkaline films and provide a clean, water-break-free surface. Sometimes the parts can be cleaned in an off-line eletropolishing or mass finishing step before transfer to the actual process line. 1. Soak clean or preclean as described previously. 2. Anodically clean in an alkaline descaler. 3. Acid dip as described (see appropriate tables for suggested chemical constituents and operating conditions). In a double cleaning cycle the first acid may be an anodic electropolishing treatment. Low Carbon Steel 1. Alkaline soak clean. 2. Anodically electroclean (moderate caustic, silicated, complexed, wetted blend). Use at standard operating parameters for rack and barrel. 3. Acid dip in either hydrochloric acid at 5-25% v/v or sulfuric acid at 3-10% v/v. Depending on surface condition, wetters, inhibitors, or deflocculents may be required. Use at standard operating parameters. Magnesium Alloys Removal of corrosion, heavy oxides, and mill scale: 1. Alkaline soak clean. 2. Acid immersion treatment in either of the following solutions: A. Hydrofluoric acid at 20-25% v/v, 75-90OF (24-32OC) or B. 20 oz/gal of 85% phosphoric acid, 2-3% v/v of 42OBé nitric acid, and 0.2-0.3 oz/gal ammonium bifluoride, 75-90OF (24-32OC). or Chromic acid containing solution consisting of: 44-48 oz/gal chromic acid, 3-4 oz/gal sodium nitrate, 1.5 oz/gal sodium chloride, 0.1 oz/gal sodium sulfate, 65-90OF (18-32OC). Nickel and Cobalt Alloys 1. Alkaline soak clean. 2. Cathodically condition in a highly conductive electrocleaner blended for steel. 3. Acid dip in a solution consisting of 50% v/v of 70% hydrofluoric acid and 7% v/v of 42OBé nitric acid at 75-90OF (24-32OC). Silver and Silver Alloys 1. Alkaline soak clean. 83

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