Ferric Chloride Question

Discussion in 'Ed Caffrey, MS "The Montana Bladesmith"' started by SHostetler, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. SHostetler

    SHostetler Well-Known Member

    A couple of questions for you about ferric chloride.......

    Does FC wear out? Other than it loses its effectiveness, is there a way to tell?
    Does it have shelf life?

    My FC has a percipitate/sludge in the bottom and is somewhat milky.

    Just wondering if it needs to be replaced or filtered or ????

    Steve Hostetler
  2. EdCaffreyMS

    EdCaffreyMS Forum Owner - Moderator

    Hi Steve!

    In my experience it will "wear out". About the only way to tell is when it just seems to stop working. The "sludge" at the bottom is normal, but the "Milky" is not! Etchant that looks "milky" generally has been contaminated with something.....most often some type of oil. I once wrecked a newly mixed tank of etachant because I had left the lid off of it, and sprayed something with WD-40 about 2 feet away from it.....just a few drops got into the tank, and that "milky" appearance showed up. As far as I can tell, there is NOTHING you can do once it's contaminated, except to dump it, clean out the container well, and mix a new batch.
    Just about anything can contaminate Ferric.....oils are the worst, but if the container isn't kept covered, various dusts, grits, or whatever can get into it and wreck it.
  3. SHostetler

    SHostetler Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info. Looks like its time for some new FC..

  4. soundmind

    soundmind Well-Known Member

    Hi Ed or Steve,

    Do you know if Ferric Chloride is toxic if it gets milky?

  5. EdCaffreyMS

    EdCaffreyMS Forum Owner - Moderator

    Not sure how to answer that one....... I would call ferric "toxic" by itself, because its not something I would want to drink or eat. :) As I mentioned previously, the "milky" thing comes from some type of contamination..... generally some type of oil or lubricant. As far as disposing of Ferric, I will usually just dump it into a bucket, dump in a small box of baking soda to "kill" it completely, then dump it somewhere that I can wash down with the garden hose.
  6. soundmind

    soundmind Well-Known Member

    Yeah I know what you mean. Myself, I barely want to even own a bottle. I got ahead of myself by purchasing it. I can't tell what I've got in mine. Its an unopened bottle with some sludge and a few "milky looking streaks" at the bottom. But if the contamination can only come from some outside foreign substance (like oil), then I "suppose" it's still good. Especially if the sludge is normal. Thanks for the help and thanks for the disposal tip.

  7. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

    Ferric Chloride definitely has a shelf life. Storing FeCl sealed and in a dark place will help extend the FeCl life a good bit.
  8. Francois

    Francois Member

    Hi guys Ferric Chlorde is actually not as bad as everybody thinks, i actually carry a small bottle in my fishing bag for first aid, it is a coagulant and stops bleeding emediately, my friend Google also claims it gets used for floculant in water treatment and as kids it was given to us per mouth when we go boyle sores and i am still here.
    Just some useless info
  9. soundmind

    soundmind Well-Known Member

    Thanks Francois. I'd like to eventually compile some MSDS' on the kind of stuff I'm starting to work with.

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