Electropolishing provides the solution by removing the peaks of the surface profile (if viewed at a microscopic level) leaving a smooth surface with a very low Ra.
It can be used for both decorative and functional applications. For decorative complex applications brightness can be achieved that is not possible to achieve by any other process. These properties also find applications for clean room environments, wire goods such as autoclave trays, baskets, and catering equipment. Electrical enclosures are becoming increasingly specified with an electropolished finish because of both the appearance and functionality of the finish.
The advantages of electropolishing are:
- Reduction of surface roughness (circa 50% in Ra)
- Removal of sharp edges (burrs, corners), sometimes referred to as chemical milling
- Results in a bright, reflecting surface, with removal of light scratches and a cosmetically desirable product with increased light reflection
- Improved resistance to corrosion due to chromium enrichment of the surface
- Reduced dirt adhesion making the surface easier to clean
- Reduced friction
- Removal of hydrogen from the alloy, called degassing (hydrogen may otherwise lead to embrittlement)