The Electropolishing of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel combines desirable mechanical properties with proven corrosion resistance. The performance of stainless steels is well known and fully documented. Despite its known properties and its use within an appropriate environment, stainless steels do fail from corrosion.
All stainless steels are iron-based alloys (minimum 50% iron) and have at least 10.5% chromium. The chromium content is the key to stainless steel's basic corrosion resistance. When the chromium is exposed to oxygen, it spontaneously forms a passive oxide layer. This passive oxide layer is very thin, yet it prevents further diffusion of oxygen into the base material and thus prevents corrosion. Stainless steel electropolishing can be used to improve the corrosion resistance of stainless steel by enhancing the thickness and the properties of this passive oxide film. Further details can be found in our discussion of electropolishing stainless steel and other metals.
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