Stainless Steel Electropolishing
Stainless steel electropolishing (or stainless steel polishing) could be described as a “reverse plating” process. It uses a combination of rectified current and a blended chemical electrolyte bath to remove imperfections from the surface of metal parts and provide a surface that is clean and bright.
How Does Electropolishing Work?
In stainless steel electropolishing, impurities, imperfections, and burrs are removed, ion by ion, from the surface of the metal object being processed. Electropolishing is an effective replacement for more traditional mechanical finishing techniques.
To start the stainless steel polishing process, parts are submerged in the temperature-controlled electrolyte bath and charged with positive DC voltage. The parts act as electrical anodes (or positive terminals), while cathodes (negative terminals) inside the tank draw current from the parts through the conductive electrolyte liquid. As the current travels from the parts to the cathodes, it draws metal ions from the surface of the parts through the electrolyte. After processing, electropolished parts will have a clean and polished surface.
Stainless steel electropolishing is very similar to high polish chrome plating, but uses none of the harmful chemicals required for chrome plating. It is a far safer and more environmentally-friendly process.
The electrolyte solutions used for stainless steel electropolishing most often consist of high viscosity acid solutions, such as sulfuric or phosphoric acid mixtures. Arrow Cryogenics carefully formulates and maintains our electrolyte chemistries to ensure the best and most effective results for your stainless steel polishing project.
Benefits of Arrow Cryogenics’ Stainless Steel Polishing Process
Customers rely on Arrow Cryogenics’ expertise in stainless steel electropolishing and other part cleaning processes to finish their complex parts and components.
- Polishes areas inaccessible by other polishing methods
- Electropolishing improves surface reflectivity and brightness
- Improves the surface finish by leveling micro peaks and valleys
- Removes iron from the surface and enhances the chromium/nickel content, providing the best method of passivation for stainless steel
- Because electropolishing removes a small amount of material (roughly 20-40 micrometers thick) from the part surface, small burrs and high spots are also removed
- Electropolishing can be used to slightly reduce the size of parts, if necessary
- Provides a clean and smooth surface that is easier to sterilize
- The stainless steel polishing process treats all areas of the part, including those that would be inaccessible via other polishing techniques
- Provides a corrosion resistant surface
- Removes surface discoloration caused by heat treating and/or oxidation
- Creates a bright, reflective finish
To ensure consistency and quality, we perform all stainless steel electropolishing, stainless steel passivation, and quality control operations to the highest standards required by the semiconductor, aerospace, and medical industries. Arrow Cryogenics is ISO 9001:2008 certified.