What is Electropolish?
Electropolishing, also referred to as electro chemical polishing, anodic polishing or electrolytic polishing, is an electro-chemical process that removes a small amount of metal from the surface of the stainless steel work piece to produce a shiny, smooth finish. Electropolishing can be thought of as passivation on steroids. Passivation removes unbound iron from the surface and oxidizes the chromium that is part of the stainless steel alloy, producing a clean, rust-resistant surface finish. Electropolish adds electricity to this process to remove a small amount of surface stainless and deepen slightly the layer of oxidized chromium.
When is Electropolish Used?
Semiconductor facilities often require support objects like carts and cabinets to be made from electropolished stainless steel when those objects are intended for use in class 100 or class 10 cleanrooms. The reasoning is that objects made from electropolished stainless shed fewer particles and are easier to wipe down than non-polished items. Pharmaceutical and food-producing facilities also may require electropolished stainless steel because of the smoother surface, which makes wipe down and sterilization an easier process.