What is passivation

What is Passivation?

Stainless steel is a common material in many aviation, aerospace, and even automobile applications because of the major advantage of its corrosion resistance. It is also naturally resistant to fire and heat, is a sustainable material, and has high impact resistance and overall strength.

Even though it is naturally corrosion resistant as an alloy of iron, carbon, and chromium, that doesn't mean it's impervious to rust. That's why passivation services are of paramount importance to any part or component made from stainless steel.

What is Passivation? What Does Passivation Mean For Stainless Steel?

In a manufacturing setting, passivation is a process that removes all free iron from the surface of a material like stainless steel. This helps to improve the part or component's natural resistance to issues like rust, thus ensuring their longevity and reliability as well.

How Passivation Works

Once a component is thoroughly cleaned, it is then dipped in a bath of either nitric acid or citric acid depending on the application. This removes the free iron from the surface of the material.

After the component leaves the bath and is allowed to dry, this leads to the addition of a protective oxide layer on the surface — otherwise known as the passivation layer. This is essential because it is less likely to react to air, moisture, and other properties that could cause premature corrosion later on.

Materials That Can Be Passivated

The passivation process is valuable for a wide range of different metals, with stainless steel being chief among them. Other examples include but are not limited to ones like:

  • Aluminum
  • Zinc
  • Titanium
  • Silicon
  • Nickel

Why Passivation Services Are Necessary

The primary purpose of passivation is to help prevent corrosion and degradation of the surface finish. This is especially critical for aerospace or aircraft components, which are regularly exposed to harsh temperatures and other extreme environments while still needing to function at peak efficiency at all times.

Many people don't realize just how easy it is to introduce buildups of free iron onto the surface of a stainless steel component that they believe cannot rust. Even using standard shop tools can leave trace amounts that are invisible to the naked eye. If left unchecked, that part could prematurely rust and fail. At best, this means that it will need to be replaced sooner than it should, which could lead to increased maintenance costs for aircraft. At worst, that part could totally fail in a way that creates a dangerous situation for everyone onboard. Passivation helps prevent this from happening.

Talk to a Passivation Expert

Take care to invest in passivation services from a reliable vendor with rapid turnaround times. At Metal Finishing Technologies, we're proud of the reputation we've been able to earn over the years as a company that can offer fast stainless steel passivation for not only aircraft and aerospace clients, but also defense, industrial, and commercial metal parts and components as well.

We always take the time to get to know our clients on an individual basis, so we can learn the intricacies of your project and deliver outstanding results. 

If you're interested in finding out more about how our passivation services can benefit your business, please don't hesitate to contact our team today.

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