Stainless steel requires some form of cleaning after fabrication. Cleaning is used to eliminate surface defects and imperfections before finishing. If stainless steel is finished before cleaning, its quality and performance can be significantly compromised. Various mechanical and chemical techniques can be used to clean stainless steel, all targeting specific aspects of the metal in a bid to improve its quality, performance, and resilience. Here are some techniques used in cleaning stainless steel.
Sand and grit blasting
Sand and grit blasting techniques are used to remove small metals and impurities on the surface of the metal. The texture of blasted steel is dependent on the blast media, which include aluminium oxide, silicon carbide, lead bead, or stainless steel shot. Soft media such as silicon carbide gives a smoother finish than hard media. Pressure applied to stainless steel should be monitored when using aluminium oxide as it can reduce corrosion resistance properties of steel.
The key consideration when sand blasting or grit blasting is to ensure that the media is clean and not previously used as it can contaminate the surface of steel by causing rust discolorations. Also, stainless steel should be cleaned before and after blasting for a smoother finish.
Grinding and polishing
Grinding and polishing are probably the hardest techniques used in cleaning stainless steel. The reason for this is that the process requires stainless steel to have a mirror-like finish without even the tiniest of scratches. The process involves alternating between coarse grinding to get rid of deep surface defects, and grit grinding to eliminate smaller contaminants. The process should not be vigorous enough to heat the surface of steel as this will result in the formation of an oxide layer on the surface. After grinding, the metal is polished to achieve a mirror-like finish.
Steel or nylon brushes can be used to clean the surface of the stainless steel metal and remove dirt, heat tint, rust, and oxides. Brushing improves the corrosion resistance of steel as it gets rid of oxides on the surface. Also, it is used to prepare the metal for post-fabrication finishing techniques such as painting and powder coating.
Some companies apply a thick layer of oil on the surface of steel to prevent corrosion. If you fabricate greased steel, you will need to clean the oily film before finishing it. Various degreasing products are available on the market today, all effective in cleaning oil and lubricants stainless steel.
The quality and resilience of stainless steel products rely heavily on the cleaning techniques used in cleaning steel after fabrication. You can combine all these techniques to achieve a smooth finish and high-quality stainless steel for the desired fabricated steel products.Share
23 June 2016
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