Stainless steel electro-polishing
THE ADVANTAGES OF ELECTROPOLISHING STAINLESS STEEL
The electropolishing treatment is an anodic polishing treatment of a metal surface by immersion. It offers multiple advantages compared to the mechanical one with brushes as the acid bath imparts a surface passivation which increases its resistance characteristics to the corrosion process.
In particular, the electropolishing treatment on stainless steel can constitute a finishing treatment and can prevent burns from appearing on the pieces by means of mechanical cleaning due to the strong friction of the wheels and the poor calorific conductivity of the base material.
The treatment on stainless steel, being of the electrochemical type, does not alter, remove or influence any surface marks due to drawing, deburring or abrasion. For these specific cases, preventive mechanical treatments are used to correct these defects.
In order to be able to treat any type of shape, an appropriate study of each individual application may be necessary, mainly according to the shape of the object to be treated, taking into account the edges, the welds and the current density (which must be homogeneous over the entire surface).
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The advantages of stainless steel electropolishing compared to mechanical polishing
Although the visual rendering of electropolished, mechanically polished and electroplated materials may be very similar, their areas of application are substantially different:
Mechanical polishing, grinding, polishing and honing of stainless steel is typically used to produce attractive mirror-like surfaces on consumer goods or decorative or architectural parts. Mechanical polishing operations can easily be carried out in the workshop or locally during repairs. A mechanically polished metal surface involves microscopic abrasions, deformations, metal debris and abrasive inclusions.
An electropolished surface, on the other hand, is completely unaltered showing the original crystalline structure of the metal, without the distortions produced by the work hardening processes which always accompany mechanical finishes.
The difference between an electropolished component and a mechanically finished one is often not visible, especially if both are polished to the same degree of roughness. However, the benefit of the finish produced by electropolishing becomes visible when the surface is viewed at high magnifications.
In contrast, surface finishing processes that use abrasives, other cutting edges, or abrading processes always distort the metal surface, no matter how small the amount of machining.
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