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Is electropolished surface damaged by scotchbright or buffing?

September 24, 2012

Q. Hello,

I am wondering if cosmetic scratch repair preformed on 304 stainless steel has compromised the corrosion resistance of the piece?

A small scratch was buffed with a scotch bright pad and then polished with a buffing wheel.

Does this electropolished layer regenerate?

Matt Hudson
- Shoreview, Minnesota, USA

September 25, 2012

A. Hi Matt.

If you are sure that no used scotchbrite or buffing pads were involved, it may be all right; but I think the safer bet is to passivate it.

If it's a medical, pharmaceutical, or food application, though, the surface not being electropolished may be a violation because there is a difference between a mechanically polished surface (plowed farmer's field furrows) vs. an electropolished surface (smooth ocean swells).


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

September 28, 2012

A. Matt, The electropolished layer does not regenerate by itself - it will need re-electropolishing. You do not say what the article is, but if it is possible to re-prepare the surface and then re-electropolish, it will give you a much better result. This may not be an easy task, so you should consult a reputable electropolishing company

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

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