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Smoothing and enhancing the appearance of a metal surface by making it an anode in a suitable electrolyte. Also known as electrolytic brightening; electrolytic polishing.


A method of polishing metal surfaces by applying an electric current through an electrolytic bath in a process that is the reverse of plating. The metal to be polished is made the anode in an electric circuit. Anodic dissolution of protuberant burrs and sharp edges occurs at a faster rate than over the flat surfaces and crevices, possibly because of locally higher current densities. The result produces an exceedingly flat, smooth, brilliant surface.

Electropolishing is used for many purposes. The brilliance of the polished surface makes an attractive finish. Because the polished surface has the same structural properties as the base metal, it serves as an excellent surface for plating. Electropolishing avoids causing differential surface stresses, one of the requirements for the formation of galvanic cells which cause corrosion. Because no mechanical rubbing is involved, work hardening is avoided. Contaminants, which often are associated with the use of abrasives and polishing compounds, are also avoided. The surface is left clean and may require little or no preparation for subsequent treatment or use. Electropolishing also minimizes loss of high-temperature creep-rupture strength. See Electroplating of metals

References in periodicals archive ?
Customers can now find one-stop-shopping for parts that require electropolishing, laser marking, and a subsequent passivation operation.
Potter explains that the medical device and orthopedic industries, in particular, frequently require services like titanium anodizing and laser marking in addition to electropolishing and passivation, and that they must all be performed in the proper environment.
Commercial applications for electropolishing have been in use since the early 1950's.
Its main sub-contract services are pickling and electropolishing of castings, forgings, pressings, wirework and welded assemblies.
Electropolishing, however, can produce a clean surface that is less likely to harbor bacteria that could contaminate a product.
The topics include applying different simulation strategies to analyze multi-stroke localized-incremental forging operations, the effect of electrolyte on the surface smoothness obtained by electropolishing stainless steel, the effective utilization of rapid prototyping technology, the numerical analysis of the stress/strain evolution in incremental sheetforming and stretch-bending processes, and the tensile ductility of electron beam welded titanium alloys.
Extra processing, such as deburring before electropolishing, can be eliminated or at least significantly reduced, saving time and money.
These can be achieved by uniformity of material removal in electropolishing process.
The company began as the UK subsidiary of a German organisation in 1969, supplying chemicals and equipment for electropolishing of non-ferrous metals.
Electropolishing involves placing steel in an acid bath, then running an electric current through the solution.