-- The Home Page of the Finishing Industry
A website for Serious Education, promoting Aloha,
& the most FUN smiley you can have in metal finishing.
    no popups, no spam
on this site
current topics

topic 0058

Seeking info about electropolishing stainless steel

A discussion started in 1995 and continuing through 2005.
Add your Q. or A. to restore it to the "Current Topics" discussions.


I would like to find information regarding the process for electropolishing stainless steel. This is for a hospital equipment manufacturer, and we need it to eliminate the actual process which is by abrasive polishing after TIG welding in order to remove the black residue produced. I've heard that by reverse electrolysis you can achieve very nice finishes.

Hope to hear from anyone soon. Thank you --Federico



Hi, Federico. The American Electroplaters and Surface Finishers Society ( has a very good 'Illustrated Lecture' on electropolishing; the Electroplating Engineering Handbook (Van Nostrand Reinhold) has a very through treatment of it; and the Metal Finishing Guidebook covers it well too.

Basically, the stainless steel is immersed in a strong acid at a high current density and the asperities are dissolved away--leaving a very smooth, burr free, passive, surface. It's not necessarily an easy or cheap process to run, but it is definitely a great way to finish stainless steel.

However, if you are looking for a machine specifically for electrolytically cleaning up weld lines, as opposed to electropolishing the whole item, such machines are available and can be found by searching for terms like "electrolytic weld cleaning" or "electrolytic weld cleanup". Good luck.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


In electropolishing is it possible to achieve mirror finish on stainless steel 316L grade material.
Component has got cavity shaped like "W".


Robert Denso
- St. Louis, Missouri, USA


I don't think 316L is any special problem, Robert. The component probably can be electropolished despite the W-shaped cavity, but it may require customized fixturing because you have to get current down into the bottom of that "W" and you need to avoid hydrogen gas accumulation, or stratification of the solution,

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

This public forum has 60,000 threads. If you have a question in mind which seems off topic to this thread, you might prefer to Search the Site

ADD a Comment to THIS thread START a NEW threadView CURRENT TOPICS

Disclaimer: It's not possible to diagnose a finishing problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations may be deliberately harmful.

  If you need a product/service, please check these Directories:

JobshopsCapital Equip. & Install'nChemicals & Consumables Consult'g, Train'g, SoftwareEnvironmental ComplianceTesting Svcs. & Devices

©1995-2018, Inc., Pine Beach, NJ   -   About   -  Privacy Policy
How Google uses data when you visit this site.