If metal surfaces are kept clean and have a sufficient supply of oxygen to maintain their protective layer, they will usually maintain resistance to imbedded and surface contaminants for some time. However, corrosion can always occur with the severity dependent on how stable the environment is.
Surface contaminants can take many forms, but are often characterized as anything from a slight brown “blooming” pattern on the surface to deep pitting, rusty spots or scouring on items such as banisters. These results are often caused by impurities from contact with non-stainless steel materials, but can also be caused by handling or manufacturing stainless steel on non-stainless steel equipment, using non-stainless steel tools or working in 'mixed-metal' manufacturing facilities without proper separation and cleaning. If any of the above conditions become exposed to moisture, corrosion will most likely result.
Electropolishing: A Reverse Plating Process
Instead of adding an additional layer of metal to a part, electropolishing eliminates the outer skin of metal. This is accomplished by using a combination of chemicals and electrical current.
The metal pieces are first immersed in an electrochemical bath. This serves to dissolves an even layer of exterior material. This process effectively removes contaminants that exist beneath the surface, leaving the parts with a smooth, shiny and corrosion-resistant texture. There are additional benefits as well.
Electropolishing has the ability to remove surface imperfections in the part, by dissolving a uniform layer of material. This may include burrs, sharp edges, fractures, micro pits and other tiny imperfections not visible to the human eye. Removing these imperfections reduces the chances for bacterial growth and corrosion and inhibits them from getting more severe over time and negatively affecting part performance.
Electropolished metal parts may be less vulnerable to untimely breakdown and stress, and without burrs or sharp edges, they should perform better, as well. Therefore, electropolishing is good insurance against corrosion, but it is also a good investment for prolonging part integrity and performance over time.
Call or email Able Electropolishing today to learn more about how our signature metal finishing treatment can enhance your metal parts.