Electropolishing for Nitinol Alloys
At Able Electropolishing, we are proud to offer electropolishing services for Nitinol, an alloy made of nickel and titanium. Nitinol is difficult to produce, so when you’re trying to make it last longer and resist degradation, one method of doing so can involve electropolishing. Nitinol is commonly used in applications that require flexibility and motion, including medical devices, and because nickel, a known allergen, is present in the alloy, it is essential that the metal be properly treated. When electropolished, Nitinol forms a stable protective layer that acts as a barrier against ion exchange, protecting against nickel release..
Benefits of Electropolishing Nitinol
Electropolishing Nitinol improves the alloy’s resistance against corrosion as well as improves its durability by performing several different functions at once.
- Deburring — Nitinol parts must be burr-free when used in medical applications for optimal safety. Electropolishing is an effective method for removing burrs, leaving the surface of the metal free of micro-imperfections that can have a negative impact on performance.
- Sizing — Electropolishing removes a uniform, controlled amount of material from the surface of the metal or alloy. The removed material ranges from .0001” to .0015” per surface, and allows for accurate sizing of Nitinol parts without distorting or changing their shapes.
- Ultracleaning — Electropolishing also removes debris and other embedded contaminants—an essential feature for medical devices. This is most beneficial for implantable medical devices, which must be sterile prior to implantation. Additionally, it provides a clean, bright appearance.
- Corrosion resistance — Finally, electropolishing eliminates surface imperfections, which could become initiation sites for corrosion. Eliminating these surface imperfections and other impurities improves the metal’s resistance to corrosion.
Compared to Passivation
Electropolishing provides superior results when compared to passivation. While passivation eliminates contaminants from the metal’s surface, it doesn’t remove imbedded contaminants from the pores or imperfections in the metal. In addition, the passivation does not give you value added aesthetic feature that the electropolishing does.
With that in mind, choosing electropolishing is the way to ensure the metal parts used are safer, longer lasting, and better suited for medical, and other critical applications.