I’ve been saltwater etching for a long time and didn’t know all the chemistry behind it. Then I watched Nancy LT Hamilton‘s new video on electro-etching and learned how dangerous the chemical byproducts of saltwater etching can be. As the Reddit article explains:
“Using saltwater as your etching electrolyte can be rather problematic due to competing side reactions. The main one of course being electrolysis of salt, which produces chlorine at the anode and hydrogen at the cathode. So you would have a toxic gas and a highly flammable gas to deal with. The other product of electrolysis of NaCl solution is sodium hydroxide,[my note: lye] which remains in solution.”
I encourage you to read the whole article, here. and to watch the video, here. Hamilton offers alternatives to saltwater that will allow you to etch better and more safely.
And on a lighter note, my neighbor Bob added some beautiful new plants to his garden. I just have to show you more pictures.