Learn Electropolish

General and History

Electro-chemistry is a fundamental field of human knowledge and industry. Its applications for cathode deposition of metals from solution (Electro-plating and Electro-forming) and for anode dissolution of metals (Electro-chemical Etching) are in use from early steps of the modern industry.

At the early skirts of the 20-th century an interesting electro-chemical phenomenon was discovered at University Laboratories: at definite conditions the anode dissolution of metal is accompanied by producing of a glass-like film on the metal surface, which reveals outstanding qualities of lustrous appearance, high corrosion resistance, low friction etc. The process was named Electro-polish. After decades of researches, it enters wide application for food, electronic, optical, medical and other industries at the late decades of the20-th century.

How the Electro-polish process proceeds

When a metal is immersed in an ionized solution, electro-chemical transformation of surface layer of the metal immediately starts, following basic laws of Electro-chemistry. Depending on electro-chemical situation, metal surface regains extra electrons and becomes negative Cathode or losses electrons and becomes positive Anode.

In a case the metal became Cathode, it transfers its extra surface electrons to metal cations in the solution, reducing them to the neutral metal atoms which deposits on the Cathode surface. This process occurs during Electro-plating.

In a case the metal became Anode, surface atoms of the metal lost their electrons and became cations which are passing into the solution, i.e. are dissolving. This process occurs during the Anode treatment processing of metals.

When the Anode dissolution of the metal is accompanied by producing of a glass-like film on the metal surface, this is the Electro-polish Process. To make the system having electro-polishing abilities, one has to be skilled in the art.

The Electro-polishing Process may be created by inner electrical potentials of the metal-solution system (Intrinsic Electro-polish), as illustrated at the picture (view).
Practically more applicable is the Electro-polishing Process created by outer electrical potential (Extrinsic Electro-polish), as illustrated at the picture (view). This kind of Electro-polishing Process has usually better performances.
Electro-polishing Process’ features

Because of its electro-chemical nature, Electro-polishing Process dissolves metal surface on molecular level, in such a way removing all surface defects from the metal, leveling the surface and reaching an original pure metal body. At the same time the electro-polishing media, which is usually of acid nature, dissolves all oxides in all forms located on the metal surface. Simultaneously, Electro-polishing Process builds on this renewed not defected pure metal surface a controlled submicron dense layer of oxides, salts and additives used for electro-polishing. The combination of renewed pure metal surface and glass-like protective layer on it, gives to the electro-polished metals their outstanding surface qualities.

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Anode Treatment

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