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topic 57147

How to render stainless steel non-conductive

May 11, 2011

we are looking for a finishing method to stop stainless steel from conducting electricity in our custom stainless steel switches

Ron Mangiantine
buyer - Providence, Rhode Island, USA

May 16, 2011

Regrettably stainless steel is a metal, so it will be an electrical conductor. The only way you can make it non conducting (i.e., insulated), is to coat it in a non-conducting layer, such as a paint or polymer. If it is not going to be exposed to any abrasive wear, you should be able to use an epoxy resin or polyurethane coating. However, if the coating is allowed to fail it will expose the steel and the assembly will be conducting again.

trevor crichton
Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK

December 17, 2016

Q. Dear Mr Crichton

I really admire the clarity of your answer.

May I go further in asking you whether the transparent nail varnish is a non-conducting material e.g. to make an ordinary galvanised bolt non-conducting?

I anxiously look forward to hearing your reply.

Best regards,

Anthony Dernellis
- Athens, Greece

December 2016

A. Hi Anthony. Most organic coatings, probably including nail varnish, are non-conductive. But there is a big difference between being a non-conductor and being a robust and dependable insulator. Nail varnish isn't even intended to be used on metal, so it's adhesion may be poor and it may exhibit pinholes. The way to insulate bolts is with micarta or fiberglass washers and bushings. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

January 1, 2017

A. Hi Anthony,
I completely agree with Ted's comments and would only add that we have used nail varnish for many years with success in situations such as you describe. We have not had any problems so far!!

blake kneedler
Blake Kneedler
Feather Hollow Eng.
Stockton, California

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