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topic 570

Electropolishing of metal disks to .005 micron


Is it possible to electropolish metal disks to a surface roughness smaller than 0.03 micrometer (e.g. 0.005 micrometer) ? Thank you

Achim Knoll
- France



What substrate are your metal disks made of?

We received new surface roughness tests on our mirror-polished stainless (double-sided). The surface roughness was measured using AFM (Atomic Force Microscopic). The scanned areas were done in nanometer (one thousandth part of a micrometer). A micrometer = one millionth of a meter or 0.00003937".

The results of the tests reveals the following:

Rms (Rq) = 0.653 nM
Mean roughness (Ra) = 0.702 nM

This was done on a mechanically polished No. 8 stainless steel. If you like, I can send you a sample for evaluations.

We are very interested in obtaining comparison figures with electropolishers. Any of you out there that like to's your chance.


Michael Liu Taylor
Michael Liu Taylor
   specialty stainless steel distributor
Dallas, Texas

December 1, 2008

Hi, Achim. There are are a couple of issues here: First, what is this .005 micrometer -- is it an Ra reading, an Rms, or what?

Second, there seems to be confusion about electropolishing vs. mechanical polishing. Electropolishing tends to not be a competitive technology to mechanical finishing, but a complimentary one. It dissolves away any asperities, leaving a smooth "ocean swells" finish as opposed to the "plowed field" of mechanical polishing. It's purpose of to provide minimal tooth, and no place for contaminants to hide. But without mechanical polishing for an overall smoothness and planarity, it is possible that the finish might not meet the requirements of the component.


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

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