According to Layman’s terms, electropolishing is a material removal process using an electrically powered chemical process called electrolysis.

Electropolishing is an electrochemical process by which surface material is removed by anodic dissolution under optimum current density and temperature conditions.

Electropolishing is used to polish, passivity, and deburr metal parts. It can be used as a substitute for fine abrasive polishing in microstructural preparation. Electropolishing produces a combination of properties that no other surface finishing method can achieve. The corrosion resistance of electropolished stainless steel exceeds that of standard passivation processes.

It is also called electrochemical polishing or electrolytic polishing (especially in the metallographic field).

Applications for Electropolishing

  • The process is typically used as a pre-process for electroplating where it helps create a good quality adherence.
  • Electro-plating is widely being used for high-quality room chairs, tables, and waste bins.
  • For the polishing of highly sensitive and small-sized instruments that includes surgical instruments, medical tools and equipment related to food processing.
  • This process is also used to remove sharp edges from small tools and tools that cannotbe removed by hand filing/conventional tools.
  • Electropolishing is also a common after-treatment for many products where distortion has occurred due to processes such as nitriding, annealing, welding, brazing and case hardening.
  • The process can also be used to increase the reflectivity of the exterior surface of a product.
  • When looking to remove the stressed/unwanted hardened layer from a product material, this is perfect – it can also improve the life of the product.
  • Micromachining of metals and different alloys.

Electropolishing Process Variations

The process of electropolishing is controlled by seven different parameters which directly impact the results achieved. Those parameters are as follow:-

  • Workpiece material.
  • Workpiece surface condition.
  • The density of the current applied.
  • Original surface roughness.
  • Voltage is applied across the workpiece.
  • Type and nature of acid being used.
  • The temperature of the electrolytes during the process.

Advantages of Electropolishing

  • The electropolishing process can be used to treat multiple products at the same time.
  • Or multiple amounts of the same product.
  • This process can be used safely with materials susceptible to heat damage.
  • Excellent alternative for all components affected by heat treatment.
  • This process allows the polishing of very complex shapes – often to complexity levels that cannot be polished by any other process.

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