If you were to ask someone how to make a metal object more corrosion resistant, they would probably say something like “Add a coating,” or “Electroplate it.” They probably wouldn’t say “Strip some metal off of it.” This, however, is exactly what PEP General Metal Finishing provides – a process called electropolishing that strips metal. It is a complicated but beneficial process that can be applied to a number of different products.
What is Electropolishing
The electropolishing process is electrochemical in nature and involves removing microscopic amounts of iron from the surface of a stainless steel object. This removal smoothes out the surface of the metal, making it more resistant to corrosion and leaving a chrome rich surface. Generally thought of as the opposite of electroplating, this finishing process is applied to stainless steel and other metals, as well.
The process does not remove large amounts of metal—it simply removes metal by infinitesimal amounts, ion by ion. Rather than a rough, potentially-damaging process like grinding or blasting, the metal is removed by an electrochemical process. The object to be polished remains anodic in an electrolyte solution while a nearby metal conductor provides the cathodic connection. The surface layer is removed evenly and does not have any of the tell-tale marks that go with mechanical methods of polishing.
Benefits of the Process
The electropolishing process removes high points more readily than other parts of the metal, so the overall effect is a smooth surface made more reflective and less susceptible to friction. A smoother surface is naturally more resistant to corrosion and it is also easier to clean. The act of removing microscopic amounts of metal can also de-stress the metal to some degree.
Products That Might Benefit From Electropolishing
Any stainless steel item can usually benefit from this polishing process to some degree. Precision instruments such as medical instruments and tools really benefit from this treatment, as well as nearly any high reliability, tight tolerance, intricately machined parts.
If you need quality electropolishing services – contact our team today.