2019 Spring Conference Session Spotlight

Esteemed Emeritus Professor David Allen is spotlighted for his upcoming presentation on the “Extraction and Recycling of Dissolved Nickel from Ferric Chloride Etchant: Economic, Technical and Environmental Considerations” at our Spring 2019 International Technical Conference.

The Abstract

As nickel-containing metals are dissolved into ferric chloride etchant, the concentration of nickel ion builds up in solution even if the etchant is being regenerated. Above a critical dissolved nickel concentration, an unacceptable rough surface finish will become apparent in parts made by PCM containing ‘half-etch’ areas. This results in quality control product rejection and increased costs.

It is therefore vital to control this build-up. Extraction of dissolved nickel from the etchant will extend its lifetime and any excess spent etchant can be utilised in environment-friendly reuse and recycling processes rather than the current increasingly-costly practice of disposal by landfilling. Furthermore, nickel is a valuable metal and, if it could be extracted economically from spent ferric chloride waste and sold, for instance, to metal smelters, it would provide a potential cost reduction for the PCM process.

This paper reviews the various technologies that enable the extraction of dissolved nickel from spent ferric chloride etchant and considers both the environmental and economic benefits that could accrue from such processes.

The Speaker

Emeritus Professor David Allen started his career as a chemist (BSc, 1968) and moved into photochemistry research (PhD, 1972) while studying at Cardiff University. Following post-doctoral research at Warwick University and imaging technology development in industry, David joined Cranfield University in 1976. He was appointed a Technical Liaison Member to PCMI in 1981 and is currently on the Board of Directors of PCMI responsible for education. David became Professor of Microengineering at Cranfield University in 1998 and was elected as a Fellow of The International Academy for Production Engineering (CIRP) in 2006.

David has published two PCM books: “The Principles and Practice of Photochemical Machining and Photoetching” (1986) and “Photochemical Machining and Photoelectroforming” (2015, reprinted 2016 and 2017) five book chapters on non-conventional machining and contributed the chapter on ‘Etching’ to the on-line CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering seven confidential industrial PCM consortium reports 195 journal and conference papers and was awarded the higher doctoral degree of DSc from Cranfield University in 2013 for his thesis entitled “Contributions to Photochemical Machining and Photoelectroforming”.

David retired from academia in 2011 and he now carries out consultancy and staff training in PCM companies across the world. He has worked with 20 different companies over the past 7 years.


David will be speaking at the PCMI Spring International Technical Conference in France this May. For more information, visit our registration page.

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