Stainless steel electropolishing tends to be the most frequent material polishing process compared to other alloys because it enhances its corrosion resistance properties. Electropolishing stainless steel is a reverse plating process that uses a combination of rectified electrical current and a blended chemical electrolyte bath to remove imperfections from the surface. This creates a much cleaner and shinier surface for the stainless-steel part.
Stainless Steel Electropolishing Process
The electropolishing process of stainless steel begins with placing the treated parts in a temperature-controlled electrolyte bath connected to a positive DC voltage charge. The bath components act as electrical anodes (positive terminals), while inside the tank the cathodes (negative terminals) draw current from the components through the conductive electrolyte liquid. As the current travels from the parts to the cathodes, through the electrolyte, it draws metal ions from the surface of the parts and during this process, the electrolyte dissolves the metal surface area of the part.
Advantages of Stainless Steel Electropolishing
All stainless steels are iron-based alloys with a minimum chromium content of 10.5%. The chromium amount contributes to the basic corrosion resistance of stainless steel. The chromium spontaneously forms a passive oxide layer when exposed to oxygen. This passive oxide layer is very thin but prevents additional oxygen diffusion into the base material and prevents corrosion. Electropolishing in stainless steel enhances the passive oxide layer by making it thicker and thus more resistant to harsh environments.
Enhancing corrosion resistance is not the only benefit when electropolishing stainless steel, below are a few other benefits.
- Makes the material easier to clean
- Gives the material an astatically pleasing finish
- Repairs the surface finish
- And more
Common Stainless Steel Alloys
- 304 Stainless Steel
- 316 and 316 L Stainless Steel
- 400 Series Stainless Steels
- 17-4 pH
- Nitronic 60
- 2205 Duplex Stainless Steel
- Other Duplex Stainless Steel
Electropolishing of stainless-steel removes imperfections, impurities, and burrs from the surface of the processed metal objects. Electropolishing is an effective replacement for more traditional techniques of mechanical finishing such as friction, buffing, blasting and grinding. Electropolished parts retain a clean and polished surface with a uniform shine after processing, without the fine directional lines associated with abrasive polishing.
Contact Delstar Metal Finishing today for all your stainless-steel electropolishing services and questions!