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Anybody know about Electropolishing? Have received a number of brochures on the subject and do not understand a few of the advantages that these companies claim that this process offers:

1. Micro-inch surface improvement. What is this?

2. Means of inspection. Huh?

3. Minimal Outgassing. Sounds like something ... well you know what it sounds like.

4. Increased heat transferability. How and why? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Janine Beneker
Madison, WI


Many of the finishing industry texts cover electropolishing, but the best coverage of the topic is probably in the Electroplating Engineering Handbook.

1. Refers to smoothness or surface profile;
2. Probably alludes to the fact that there mechanical polishing "plows" the surface and can bury contaminants in a way that electropolishing doesn't;
3.) Similarly, you'll get no 'folded over' gas pockets;
4.) Perhaps more theoretical than practical, I'd bet.

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



"Micro surface improvement" refers to the smoothing of the surface accomplished with electropolish. Many manufacturers are using electropolish for microbiological reasons as it quite simply gives the bugs less places to hide.

The "means of inspection" probably refers to the fact that EP will expose any defects in the material or welding procedures. Secondarily, it stress relieves the alloy by reducing hydrogen embrittlement.

Minimal outgassing would refer to the activity in the electrolyte when the part is being electropolished. Traditional EP "off gasses" and the effect can be very deleterious.

Increased heat transfer probably refers to the electropolishing of stainless heat exchanger surfaces which benefit from the increased flow rate after treatment.

Call me if I can answer any more questions on the subject.

Dan Weaver (a former SW Wisconsin farm boy)

Dan Weaver
- Toccoa, Georgia


Hi, Janine:

1. "Micro-inch improvement" refers to the capability of electropolishing to reduce the Ra or surface roughness. A good electropolishing system can reduce Ra by about 50% without getting your parts out of the size tolerance.

2. Electropolishing is sometimes used as a metallographic method of inspecting for flaws metallic crystal structure. Most of this work is done on the laboratory level, but there are some industrial applications.

3. "Outgassing" refers to the tendency of the processed metal to release gaseous compounds under vacuum.

4. Electropolishing smoothes the metallic surface and simultaneously produces a re-structured surface oxide with a lower heat transfer coefficient.

For further information, contact us through our directory listing on this web site. We offer training programs in all aspects of electropolishing.


Ed Bayha
Metal Coating Process Corporation - Charlotte, North Carolina

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