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Metal oxidation techniques

We are working with a very small metal fabrication firm which produces
small- to medium-sized ornamental metal products.  Their best selling
finish for these products is "rustic" (heavy emphasis on rust).  Their raw
material is 24 gauge mild steel sheet, which, after fabrication, is
oxidized using a commercially-available solution which is largely nitric
acid, with minor amounts of sodium nitrate and potassium chlorate.

We would like to find an alternative product or technique to produce the
oxidized finish, particularly something which is less expensive and more
environmentally friendly.  Two options which have been discussed have been
a brine bath and a calcium hypochlorite solution bath.  Does anyone have
any experience with producing this kind of finish on steel?

Thanks for your assistance.

Jon Hudson
******************Montana P2 Program*******************

Jon Hudson
Pollution Prevention Technical Specialist
MSU Extension Service
Taylor Hall				(406) 994-3451
Box 173580				(fax) 994-5417
Bozeman, MT 59717-3580	      toll-free (888) MSU-6872


*******Pollution Prevention Makes Business Sense*******