A comprehensive guide to PCB etchant

A comprehensive guide to PCB etchant

Table of Contents

In the method of executing PCB  etchant, we employ a blend of water and ferric chloride. For bringing in the circuitry pattern, we eliminate the copper from the board and entirely disperse it with copper.Only the copper will be left on the circuit pattern. Because the circuit pattern is protected by the tin ranking. It is one of the most important aspects of the PCB business.

PCB circuit board

What is PCB etchant?

In the PCB etchant, we discard the undesirable copper from the board and the obliged copper took off on the circuitry. A layout for the circuit board is generated before you start this procedure.

This layout is printed into the PCB, and it serves as the pattern for determining which copper parts must be taken off the board. The tin ranking is wielded to preserve the circuitry pattern .

PCB etchant possesses two categories for both internal layouts and exterior layouts. These etchings are wet and dry.

PCB etchant

Composition of PCB etchant

The Contents of PCB etchant is:

  • Alkaline Etching

The external layer of the PCB circuit board is etched using an alkaline solution. Alkaline etching has a better degree of accuracy than acidic etching. Hydrochloride, hydrogen peroxide, liquid configuration, and copper chloride are the substances used in this litigation.

  • Acidic Etching

Using the acidic method the fundamental layers of PCB boards are removed. Using this technique, chemicals are operated, particularly ferric chloride or cupric chloride. Related to the alkaline etching technique, it is more laborious.

The usage of PCB etchant

The concept of PCB etching entails extracting copper from a circuit board so that only copper is left on the circuitry that is shielded by the composite coating. Industrial circuit board fabricators use one of two varied etching techniques: acid etchant or alkaline etchant. PCB production is impossible without the PCB etching procedure, which fabricates the board in the background.
PCB etching

What are the two types of PCB etching?

Acidic etching and alkaline etching are the two distinct methods that industrial circuit board fabricators employ for PCB etching.

  • Acidic etching

We can eliminate the circuit board’s base layers by applying an acidic approach. Chemical solvents like cupric chloride or ferric chloride are used in this technique (CuCl2). In comparison to the alkaline approach, the acidic approach is more precise and less expensive, but it takes time.

We frequently utilize cupric chloride since we can find it more readily and affordably. Moreover, it can frequently regenerate and recycle while accurately etching nominal aspects. We also utilize ferric chloride, but we only use it in the business because of how expensive it is. The simple use of ferric chloride offers several benefits.

  • Alkaline etchant

The outer layers of a PCB are etched off using the alkaline technique. The chemicals employed in this case include copper chloride (CuCl2, 2H2O), hydrochloride (HCI), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and water (H2O) composition. The alkaline is a quick process but also somewhat expensive.

What chemical is used in PCB etching?

Concentrated Nitric Acid OR Concentrated Hydrochloric Acid is used for the etching process in PCB etchant manufacturing. This will get rid of extra copper. The undesired copper that was removed during the contemporary process is gathered in a drum and recycled for copper plating.

The steps of PCB etching

PCB etchant is a procedure for removing extra copper from copper laminate and only leaving the necessary circuit on it.
  • Using tools like Eagle, EasyEDA, or Fritzing, design the circuit board.
  • Print out the design.
  • The copper plate should be scraped to provide a rough surface so that the transferred pattern will adhere to it.
  • After cleaning the copper with water and scouring alcohol, let it air dry.
  • Adapt the pattern to fit it, then attach the copper with adhesive.
  • Iron the copper plate to heat the design.
  • Stir the mixture after dropping the iron plate into the water till the paper floats away.
  • Position the etching reagent there and mix it around the design until it mixes.
  • After getting rid of all the copper, rinse the item with water, let it dry, and then use scrubbing alcohol to get rid of the ink.
the steps of PCB etching

How do you etch a PCB without ferric chloride?

Ferric chloride can be replaced by ammonium persulphate. Compared to ferric chloride, it is easier to handle, but it is less effective. This white powder needs to be heated to between 60 and 70 degrees Celsius before being combined with water.

What is PCB etching powder?

Ferric chloride (FcCL3) PCB etching powder is utilized for PCB making, etching the Copper PCB. PCB etching is carried out using ferric chloride, which is suitable. Even better, it can be saved and used later. Etch your PCB using the ferrous chloride and liquid solution. Warm water will produce results more quickly.

The basis for judging the etching condition

The basis for assessing the etching condition is based on the edge, side erosion, etching coefficient factor, over eclipse, etching surface finish, and the clarity of the line spacing. Because electronic devices are getting smaller, the wiring on the circuit board is going in the direction of fine circuits, high density, and small aperture, which puts more demands on the PCB etching process.

How do you make a etching solution?

Tetra-acetic acid and two parts of dissolved hydrogen peroxide should be added. Acid is effective at removing copper. By laying the circuit board to be etched in a unique mixture, observe it through.

Later in the initial etch, you should notice the mixture beginning to turn a shady green color. This green will get deliberately better with each overture. Metal could be etched using capric chloride, which would be created as copper dissolves.


The PCB industry is expanding daily. Due to labor scarcity, PCB will become increasingly important in the future decades. Currently, rigid stiffening flex and flexibility are prevalent in the PCB industry .The quality of PCBs and PCB etchant is always improving. The practice of design is evolving and improving. Etching is being employed more frequently in PCB manufacturing and PCB assembly procedures.

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