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Stainless Steel Passivation: Only The Basics

Stainless Steel Passivation: Only The Basics

In any method of involving the manufacturing of metal components, flaws can happen. To remove, any flaws, a company will send the parts for finishing. This holds true for stainless steel. Although stainless steel does possess natural passivation qualities, the manufacturing process can corrupt this property. If the properties are to be restored, the preferred method to correct any such error is of stainless steel passivation. If performed on clean, descaled, stainless steel, this process can prove to be very advantageous. What results is the removal of certain particles that could impede the integrity and capability of the component to perform its function correctly.

Stainless Steel Passivation: The Two-Part Treatment

To make certain the part is of the best quality possible, the component undergoes a two-part passivation process – although, the initial step precedes passivation. The first step involves something called “pickling.” This refers to chemical descaling in which the stainless steel is subjected to a thorough cleaning process to remove all scales. Usually, the chemicals used are a mixture of hydrofluoric and nitric acids. This cleaning prepares the metal for the second step – passivation.

Stainless steel passivation accomplishes two specific goals. It makes the metal:

1. More passive
2. More resistant to corrosion

In doing so, it increases the life of the components and provides it with a clean, polished appearance – one that is affective against the corrosive elements of the environment in which it will need to function. Through passivation, the stainless steel parts even become more durable, ensuring its ability to take what the elements throw at it.

The process of passivation accomplishes this by forming a thin layer of film on the surface of the stainless steel. This layer – usually made from a nitric or citric acid, is hard and non-reactive. The layer of the film can be measured by employing Auger Sputter Depth Profiling (AES-SDP).

Surface Problems Removed

Stainless steel passivation takes care of several potential problems at the same time. While its major use is for the restoration of rust/corrosion resistance, other benefits arise. These include any excess and non-original grime, dirt, particulate and oil. With these undesirable and non-original characteristics removed, the stainless steel is more in tune with its original properties.

Stainless Steel Passivation

If a company wishes to preserve the integrity of their stainless steel components and the final product, it is essential to take the right measures. The manufacturing process cannot guarantee the components will be durable and capable of withstanding the environments in which they must function. To prevent any premature deconstruction – specifically through corrosion, the machined parts are sent to be finished. In doing so, companies request the best means to assure their products have the right characteristics to survive the demands. This is stainless steel passivation.

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