Can You bright Dip Stainless Steel?

Our company manufactures medical devices from stainless steel wire and tubing. In this process, the parts are ground, cleaned and electropolished. Suitable rinsing is used between each of these steps. We would like to replace the electropolishing step with a non-electrolytic step. Can this be done?


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Q. Our company manufactures medical devices from stainless steel wire and tubing. In this process, the parts are ground, cleaned and electropolished. Suitable rinsing is used between each of these steps. We would like to replace the electropolishing step with a non-electrolytic step. Can this be done? V.I.

 

A. There are a number of bright dips and chemical polishing solutions for stainless steel. In my experience none of these solutions will give the same quality results that you obtain from electropolishing.

If you want to pursue this, you might try the following solution:

Component Amount
Nitric acid 4 gal
Hydrochloric acid 1 gal
Phosphoric acid 1 gal
Acetic acid 5 gal

The solution must be used at 155–165°F. The stainless steel parts must be dipped in hot 5% sulfuric acid before they are placed in the polishing solution. One last point—the water content of the bright dip must be monitored very carefully.

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