Electropolishing Techniques

Electrolytic polishing is a method employed to smooth the metal surfaces of plate sets in vacuum capacitors so that they can achieve the ultimate electrical performance. Also known as electropolishing, this method is employed to polish metals such as stainless steels, copper alloys, magnesium and zirconium, as well as numerous other metals that are too difficult to polish using conventional methods. Electropolishing levels the hills and ridges that are left on the metal plate sets, after the machining process is completed.

Typical electropolishing processes involve two standard mechanisms, a leveling or smoothing action and a brightening action. The first mechanism, smoothing, cleans up the hills and ridges produced by mechanical grinding, using electrical resistance. The rough surfaces on the plate sets create a reaction between the surface metal and electrolytes, which in turn produce a viscous liquid solution or a polishing film (Figure 1). This polishing film controls the smoothing mechanism using electrical resistance and rapid ionic and molecular diffusion.

The second mechanism, brightening action eliminates all remaining irregularities on the metal's surface. A thin, passivating oxide film is formed directly on the metal surface and its contours, to smooth any further irregularities and brighten the metal surface. The smoother the plate surface is, the higher voltages it will be able to withstand. Jennings employs electropolishing techniques on all of our plate sets to ensure high levels of performance from our products. Please visit our web site at http://www.jenningstech.com for a complete listing of these products.

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