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The passivation of stainless steel is a method carried out to create a passive layer, i.e. making a surface film that allows the surface to lose its chemical reactivity. Steels with more than 11 percent chromium are capable of forming on their surface a transparent, inert or inactive, self-repairing oxide film. However, iron particles, tool steel or abrasive particles may be embedded or deposited on the surfaces of stainless steel components during handling and processing such as rolling, forming, machining, pressing, tumbling, and lapping. If allowed to remain, these particles can cause corrosion of a surface of stainless steel to adversely affect the sanitary condition or mechanical operation of a part, component or system or contaminate a process fluid.

Passivation, consisting of immersion of stainless steel parts in a nitric acid solution without oxidizing salts, dissolves the embedded metal and preserves the initial corrosion-resistant coating by creating a thin, translucent oxide film.

Passivation is also accomplished through electropolishing, an electrochemical process that is a stainless steel “super passivator” resulting in a more passive surface than the other methods mentioned above. A combination of electropolishing and treatment of nitric acid is recommended for maximum corrosion resistance.


When looking at passivation, the most well-known strategy utilized all through industry is nitric corrosive passivation. The Nitric corrosive passivation procedures was the first passivation prepared determined in QQ-P-35, the primary military detail covering passivation, amendment A being discharged during the 1960s. Nitric corrosive passivation offers a scope of choices to redo the oxidizing capability of the corrosive to suit a particular evaluation of hardened steel. The different strategies and sorts of nitric corrosive passivation incorporate a few warmed alternatives just as choices that incorporate a sodium dichromate.

The higher nitric corrosive focus and the higher the nitric corrosive temperature, the all the more oxidizing potential the passivation science has. Sodium dichromate can likewise be added to the nitric corrosive to build the oxidizing capacity of the shower improving it for less erosion safe treated steels, for example, precipitation solidified, martensitic and ferritic evaluations of hardened steel. These evaluations of hardened steel have less nickel and chromium in them making them increasingly helpless to drawing. The higher the oxidizing capability of the science, the quicker and progressively successful the detached oxide boundary is shaped superficially, diminishing the potential for carving.

Tainting of passivation science can prompt glimmer assault of the surface, which produce a vigorously carved or darker surface. A typical control that prompts glimmer assault is chlorides which can emerge out of a few sources incorporating hauling in acids or utilizing having chloride in the water. What’s more, natural development in passivation showers, for example, the drag-in of machining oils from parts that are not appropriately cleaned, can prompt glimmer assault or scratching of the hardened steel. All things considered, customary scientific examination and support of passivation sciences is required. Certain passivation techniques are additionally more impervious to glimmer assaults than others. For nitric corrosive passivation the showers with expanded oxidizing potential are additionally increasingly impervious to blaze assaults. Nitric corrosive likewise is increasingly impervious to blaze assault.

Benefits of Passivation

TLI Custom/Special Lower Chamber
That has been passivated.

TMPI (Thermionics Metal Processing, Inc.) has over 35 years of experience perfecting our proprietary UHV passivation chemistries and processes for SST 300 and 400 series. In addition, TMPI’s modern equipment, highly trained technicians, controlled environments, Class 100/1000 Cleanroom packaging, and in-house testing ensures consistent quality and compliance to industry standards and customers specific standards. We have a state-of-the-art plant that can accommodate parts and chambers of various sizes and complexities.

To accommodate various passivation industry standards, we have in house capability of building special tank chemistries based on the size and complexity of the part.

Our proprietary passivation process is environmentally friendly that bind metal ions preventing redepositing on surfaces. Thus, incapacitating. redepositing on surfaces reducing material out-gassing, handling requirements and optimizing the passive layer on the stainless-steel surface.

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Experts in Ultra-High Vacuum Equipment
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Thermionics Laboratory, Inc.

Founded in 1958, Thermionics provides innovative Ultra-High Vacuum solutions to premier academic, scientific and research institutions around the world. TLI understands each customer’s unique requirements and designs equipment and processes that set new standards of precision and durability.

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