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7 surface treatment processes for stainless steel: PVD process, sandblasting, chemical and mirror treatment, etc

September 21, 2023

Different stainless steel surface treatment processes can make the same material highlight different visual effects and feel characteristics. From a design perspective, need to understand the surface treatment processes of the following seven types of stainless steel.


1. PVD process


PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition)---Physical Vapor Deposition: refers to the process of using physical processes to achieve material transfer, transferring atoms or molecules from the source to the surface of the substrate. Its function is to spray certain particles with special properties (high strength, wear resistance, heat dissipation, corrosion resistance, etc.) on a matrix with lower performance, so that the matrix has better performance. Basic PVD methods: vacuum evaporation, sputtering, ion plating (hollow cathode ion plating, hot cathode ion plating, arc ion plating, active reactive ion plating, radio frequency ion plating, DC discharge ion plating).


2. Sand blasting (shot blasting) treatment


Sandblasting uses compressed air as power to form a high-speed jet beam to spray the spray material (copper ore, quartz sand, emery, iron sand, sea sand) at high speed onto the surface of the workpiece to be treated, causing the appearance or shape of the workpiece surface to change.


Sandblasting has strong applications in engineering and surface technology, such as improving the viscosity of bonded parts, decontamination, optimizing surface burrs after machining, and matte surface treatment.


The sandblasting process is more uniform and efficient than hand sanding, and the stainless steel treatment of this method creates a low-profile, durable feature of the product. Here are a few examples to visually see the effect of the sandblasting process.


3. Chemical treatment


Chemical treatment is a general term for methods that use chemical or electrochemical treatment to generate a layer of stable compounds on the surface of stainless steel. As we often say, electroplating is treated by electrochemistry.


The use of acid solution, anodic dissolution (electrolysis), etc., alone or in combination, for rust removal, and the use of phosphate treatment, chromate treatment, blackening, anodizing, etc. to form a protective film on the metal surface are all methods of this kind. This method can achieve complex pattern effects and create retro or modern design needs.


4. Mirror treatment


Mirror treatment of stainless steel is simply to polish the surface of stainless steel. The polishing techniques are divided into physical polishing and chemical polishing. Partial polishing can also be performed on the surface of stainless steel. The polishing levels are divided into ordinary polishing, ordinary 6K, fine grinding 8K, and super fine grinding 10K. The mirror surface gives people a high-end, simple, fashionable and futuristic feeling.


5. Oxidation


Stainless steel oxidation not only gives stainless steel products various colors, increases the variety of products, but also improves the wear resistance and corrosion resistance of the products. There are many methods of surface coloring, which are systematically divided into: 1. Chemical oxidation coloring method. 2. Electrochemical oxidation coloring method. 3. Ion deposition oxide coloring method. 4. High temperature oxidation coloring method. 5. Vapor phase cracking coloring. 


6. Surface brushing treatment


Wire drawing process Wire drawing is a commonly used technique for stainless steel products. It can be made into straight lines, random lines, threads, corrugations and spiral patterns according to the decoration needs. The brushed surface of stainless steel gives people a super good feel, delicate luster, wear-resistant surface and personalized texture effect. It is widely used in electronic equipment, kitchen appliances, and mechanical equipment.


7. Powder coating


Stainless steel powder coating is substantially different from the coloring mentioned above. Depending on the material, some spray paints may damage the oxide layer on the stainless steel surface. However, spraying can use a simple process to achieve stainless steel products of different colors, and different spray paints can also be used to change the feel of stainless steel. For example, the stainless steel water cups we use every day use spraying technology.