ASTM A380 Passivation Standard for Stainless Steel
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) develops and maintains high standards for metal passivation services. Able Electropolishing meets, among others, the ASTM A380 passivation standard published by this organization. This set of standards specifies the industry’s best practices for cleaning, descaling and passivating stainless steel—services that Able has provided for manufacturers worldwide for years.
What is ASTM A380 Passivation?
The ASTM A380 passivation standard covers various operations in cleaning, descaling and passivating. Stainless steel parts that undergo these processes may require a variety of treatments, including precleaning, chemical descaling, degreasing and more, all of which can be accomplished different ways.
ASTM A380 allows for different types of operations, so long as they are performed to industry standards and create the required finish. This standard specifies different methods for testing the quality of the finish, including wipe tests, high-humidity tests, free iron tests, atomizer tests and more.
Electropolishing vs. Passivation
Electropolishing Before & After Example
While passivation is useful for removing free iron and contaminants from stainless steel and is more well known, electropolishing is often a better option and can be used on far more metal alloys.
Electropolishing removes a microscopically precise layer of surface material, to tolerances as low as +/-.0001″, depending on the alloy. This degree of precision and consistency, along with the ability to remove a variety of surface imperfections in one process, is why electropolishing is so often specified for critical parts used in medical implants and surgical instruments, aerospace components and fragile or critical parts used in other industries. Electropolishing is a one-stop process for a micro-smooth, ultraclean, corrosion and pathogen-resistant surface finish – with 30 times more corrosion resistance than passivation.
Electropolishing also eliminates the need for additional metal finishing processes like hand deburring, tumbling, pickling, and cleaning.
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