What is the best way to strip copper from steel? S.H.
I am not sure there is one best way of doing this. One formulation that is used consists of a solution of sodium cyanide (12 oz/gal) and sodium hydroxide (2 oz/gal). Use this formulation at room temperature making the part to be stripped anodic. A voltage of 2-6 volts is recommended.
Another standard formulation uses chromic acid (64 oz/gal) and sulfuric acid (4 fl oz/gal) at a temperature of 120-130F. Both of these processes can cause pitting of the steel substrate upon prolonged exposure to the stripping baths.
Another solution that I personally prefer is to use a proprietary stripping solution. Proprietary systems tend to give more consistent results with much less aggravation. You can obtain information on these processes by going to the Suppliers page at www.pfonline.com or looking in the Products Finishing Directory and Technology Guide under Stripping Solutions, metal.
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