What Are The Benefits Of Electropolishing Stainless Steel?

by | Apr 8, 2013 | Business Services

Recent Articles



Electropolishing of stainless steel is a process where minute amounts of metal are removed from a stainless steel object through the use of electrolysis. The process is ideal for complex shapes where polishing with abrasives would be awkward. The process itself is quite simple; there is a large tank filled with sulphuric or phosphoric acid, into the acid is introduced a cathode which is connected to the negative side of a rectifier, the anode then becomes the work piece. Material in microscopic ionic portion’s moves from the anode across to the cathode and in the process becomes highly polished.

Improved physical appearance:

  • No evidence of fine directional lines that result from abrasive polishing
  • Depth and excellent reflection of light
  • A smooth polish with uniform luster over the entire part, regardless of shape

Improved mechanical properties:

  • Reduction in drag and friction
  • Reduction of fouling and plugging of equipment used in a production process
  • No reduction in fatigue strength
  • Fatigue strength can be enhanced by particle blasting with no detrimental effect to the surface finish
  • Surface stress relief

Superior corrosion protection:
Electropolishing of stainless steel provides maximum corrosion resistance. During the manufacture of stainless steel, tiny carbon steel inclusions get embedded into the surface. These inclusions can also be picked up during the fabrication process which includes rolling, shaping and stamping the material in tool steel dies. Mechanical or abrasive polishing cannot remove these inclusions; actually, those processes embed the inclusions even deeper. It is the inclusions that eventually corrode and show up as rust.

Easy to clean:
Electropolishing provides a surface finish of microscopic smoothness, similar in feel to glass. This decreases the ability of contaminates to adhere to the surface and those that are can be quickly removed by hydroblasting, and the blasting can be accomplished with less pressure. Reports from users indicate that cleaning time can easily be reduced by 50%.

Not only is the product easy to clean, it improves the sterilization of surfaces which must be hygienically clean, such as those in the food, pharmaceutical, beverage and chemical industries. The process removes the effects of cold working and provides the best possible passivation.

Special effects:

  • De-burrs as it polishes, also increases or decreases edge radii depending upon the position the component was racked in the polishing tank.
  • It can polish areas, which are not accessible and cannot be polished by mechanical or abrasive means.
  • Any surface flaws are immediately identified; Electropolishing of stainless steel is the best possible tools for the inspection and judging of the surface.
  • Increases the magnetism of the part by about 20%.
  • Allows many parts to be polished at the same time.

There is little doubt that Electropolishing is superior to any other way of polishing stainless steel. The surface roughness is reduced by 50% pre and post polishing.

Electropolishing of stainless steel is one of the primary tasks of New England Electropolishing. Along with passivation, the company offers its services to customers across the country.