Etching tantalum with Multi-Etch

One-centimeter piece of tantalum. By Jurii (CC BY 3.0).

One-centimeter piece of tantalum. By Jurii (CC BY 3.0).

How to etch tantalum with Multi-Etch, the safer alternative to hydrofluoric acid

Multi-Etch was originally developed for use on titanium, and is a perfect low-acid (pH 6.8) alternative to hazardous hydrofluoric (HF) acid for etching tantalum

Preparing tantalum for anodizing using Multi‑Etch

Not usually necessary. Sometimes tantalum arrives with mill oxides which are hard to see and may require etching to get good color. For many small parts, use a tumbler with ceramic media moistened with double strength Multi-Etch; tumble for approximately 15 minutes.

Removing color from tantalum using Multi‑Etch
Note: times are for removing high-voltage green completely; lower voltage colors will take less time to remove.
ProcessEtch time (minutes)Surface change
150–160°F double strength64Matte
Etch rates for tantalum using Multi‑Etch
ProcessEtch time (minutes)Etch depth (inches, cumulative total)Surface change
150–160°F double strength
10.00003No change
20.00004Slightly matte
30.00006Slightly matte

Step-by-step guides on etching with Multi-Etch

The guides below demonstrate etching with titanium, but the order of steps are the same for etching tantalum.

Tips and tricks when etching with Multi-Etch

Ordering Multi-Etch

Multi-Etch can be ordered throughout the world! View the list of Multi-Etch retailers.

Questions? You can contact Multi-Etch by phone or email.