Picral Etch, 250 mL



Picral Etch is a metallurgical etchant for the microscopic study of heat-treated steels. It is recommended for steels with ferrite and carbide structures. Our Picral is made with 4% picric acid and ethanol. This product is listed as formula number 76, “Picral,” in ASTM standard E407.

  • Option: To further increase the etching speed of this saturated picric solution, ASTM standard recommends adding a wetting agent, such as zephiran chloride. The wetting agent will lower the surface energy at the sample-etchant interface, thus influencing the etching action and uniformity.


User Instructions:

  • Mirror-polish the sample surface before etching.
  • Immerse or swab the sample for a few seconds to minutes.
  • Close the lid after each use to avoid alcohol evaporation.
  • Do not let the solution crystallize or dry out completely. Inspect the content periodically and add solvent as needed. Please consult SDS for more information.
  • This product will stain skin and clothing. When rinsing the sample after etching, it is advisable to rinse in water to remove the bulk of the etchant, and then immerse the sample in a beaker of alcohol, followed by flushing the surface with alcohol from a squeeze bottle.
  • To etch steels with more than 0.5% chromium, add 5 drops of hydrochloric acid per 100 ml of Picral. This modified solution is known as Super Picral.
  • For prior-austenite grain boundaries studies, please use the other product.
  • Discard after 1 year.

Product Applications:

  • Reveal carbides (cementite, spheroidite), pearlite and bainite.
  • Color cementite and spheroidite slightly pink.
  • Attack ferrite uniformly, and won’t show the ferrite boundaries.
  • Highlight globular cementites (spheroidites) of spheroidized annealed steels for shape analysis. It reveals only cementites and hides ferrite boundaries.
  • Highlight carbides in tool steel for distribution analysis.


Nalgene® Leakproof Bottle, HDPE.


California Proposition 65 WARNING: This product contains methanol which is known to the State of California to cause reproductive harm.

Additional information

Weight 0.8 lbs
Dimensions 4.4 × 2.7 × 6.5 in
  • Now serving US & Canada.🇺🇸🇨🇦

  • All prices are in $USD.

  • Overnight and UPS collect available.

  • Commercial shipping address required.