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The restoration of serial numbers on vehicle glass using hydrofluoric acid

Abstract

Very little research has been carried out investigating techniques for the restoration of obliterated serial numbers on vehicle glass. A study into the effectiveness of hydrofluoric (HF) acid, a known etchant for glass, has been performed. Character sequences previously etched into panes of vehicle glass were sanded to varying depths and attempts were made to restore the sequences by polishing and using a range of concentrations of HF acid. A concentration of 30% HF acid gave at least a 50% restoration of the sequence if up to approximately 30 ?m of glass had been removed during obliteration. Recovery improves if less glass is removed, but not if the concentration of the acid is increased. It appears that removal of glass below the level of the original characters makes subsequent restoration using this technique impossible.

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