Electropolishing

Electropolishing

Electropolishing is an electrochemical process that smooths and streamlines the microscopic surface of a metal object.  It is used to polish, passivate, and deburr metal parts.  The process ultimately leaves the surface microscopically featureless.  Electropolishing can augment or replace traditional finishing techniques like grinding, blasting, and buffing.  

 

The Benefits of Electropolishing

  • Improved Corrosion Resistance
  • Increased Durability
  • Reduced Adhesion for easier cleaning
  • Improved Surface Finish
  • Deburring
  • Aesthetic Appearance

 

About the Process

In electropolishing, microscopic pieces of metal are removed ion by ion from the surface of the metal object.  The process begins by immersing the metal object in an electrolyte and subjecting it to a direct electrical current. The object is maintained anodic with the cathodic connection being made to a nearby metal conductor.  At a microscopic level, electrical resistance is at a minimum wherever the film is thinnest (peaks), resulting in the greatest rate of metallic dissolution. As the reaction progresses, the peaks react faster than the corresponding micro depressions (valleys), resulting in a smooth surface.  The stock that that is removed from the surface becomes a metallic salt by-product.  Under controlled circumstances, metal removal can be held to 0.0001 - 0.0025 inches.