Electropolishing Vs. Mechanical Polishing.
What Is Electropolishing?
Electropolishing, also known as electrolytic polishing, applies to various alloys, including copper, stainless steel, carbon steel, titanium, and metal finishing. Being a polishing process, it polishes metal parts electrochemically. Thus, extracting extra surface metal makes a smoother surface type. That is to say, the uneven ”bumps” initially present on the metal part are leveled.
What Is Mechanical Polishing?
Mechanical polishing is a finishing process, requires the use of abrasives. Abrasives polish and smoothen a surface. Thus, giving the surface part a shiny appearance and a smoother texture. ”Bumps”, present on the surface, becomes smaller once we polish it mechanically. We use abrasives such as sandpaper in the polishing process. At the start, we then finish up with fine-grained sandpaper.
Essential Considerations on Mechanical Polishing.
Mechanical polishing produces a good surface profile on high and low purity applications. On the downside, mechanical polishing fails in removing inclusions. Those are pushed farther into the surface. The situation worsens if the inclusions are taken further into corrosion areas. We obtain bright surfaces by removing contaminants present on the parts via the mechanical finishing process.
The generation of the featureless surface is obtainable by the electropolishing procedure. It displays the metal’s crystal structure that doesn’t change even in the cold-working process.
How Does Electropolishing Work?
Below are a few items and conditions needed for electropolishing to work:
- Anode (a metal part to be electropolished)
- The temperature of electrolyte (typically 77-83 degrees Celsius)
- Amount of time of placement in electrical current.
- The density of electrical current (differs by an electrolyte; the typical range is 140-250 amps per square foot)
In the process, immersion of the metal part in a temperature-regulated electrolyte liquid acts as the anode. At the same time, immersion of another metal part into the same electrolyte bath as a cathode. The power supply of the anode and cathode is the DC. Once we turn the power on, current flows from the anode, oxidizing a layer and dissolving into the electrolyte. Thus, moving the dissolved anode closer to the surface of the cathode.
We chemically remove a thin layer of metal from itself. In other terms, electropolishing is the complete opposite of electroplating. We are adding a thin layer of metal to its surface. Electropolishing uses electrolytes concentrated with acid solutions: sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid.
Essential Considerations of The Electroplating Process.
1. The Condition of The Surface workpiece.
The result after electropolishing mostly depends upon the content of non-metallic inside a metal. Some electropolishing results are less desirable. Other contributing factors are imperfect annealing, inadequate cold reduction, excessive cold working, large-grained surface.
2. Process Controls
In obtaining the best outcome, the electropolishing process is controlled and standardized. Lack of process controls leads to defective and unstable poor products.
As we process stainless steel electropolish, we ensure that: We use the correct electrolyte, the temperature of the electrolyte is in check by keeping it at a certain degree, the concentration of the acid in use, metal content, and the supply of .
The Advantages of Electropolishing
1. Improves Corrosion Resistance.
A at the surface of the metal part after electropolishing. Hence, electropolish removes the iron residue thus, making the surface part non-interactable with air that causes corrosion. The durability of the metal part also increases.
2. Better Surface Finish.
Electropolishing aids in the removal of the workpiece layer uniformly. Thus, freeing the surface of any debris and contaminants. With the mechanical polish done by the human hand, we obtain an uneven layer of the workpiece, thus, a disadvantage.
3. Polishes Micro-areas
Unlike electropolishing, mechanical polishing cannot reach small areas such as undercuts, drill holes, and tiny gaps. Electropolish polishes every surface perfectly and with ease.
Between Electropolishing And Mechanical Polishing.
While using mechanical polishing, the metal surfaces or parts improve by reducing surface roughness. Thus, making the surface smooth. In addition, stainless steel alloys, aluminum, metal finishes, and minor ones improve by mechanical polish. Hence, metal polish is best applicable for metals parts after metal welds.
Electropolishing renders a better service if you want burrs removal or cleaning scratches. The production process is also fast if many metal parts need a better surface finish. Thus, electropolishing produces a better surface polish as well as time-saving.
It is convenient to choose manual polishing while dealing with a few prototypes. The cost of producing one prototype via electropolishing is higher than manual polishing. Further, the order of the service rendered by the suppliers is minimal.
Both electropolishing and manual polishing play an essential role. That gives a finishing touch to any metal—this aids metal parts hide scratch well. Stainless steel corrosion resistance improves by increasing the chrome to iron ratio by 4%. Making electropolishing a better option as it increases resistance by 30x.
While mechanical polishing, dangerous chemical reactions aren’t generated in metal and plastic. Thus, knowing the differences between electropolishing and mechanical aids in budget-making while choosing the best finishing service to suit your project.
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