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The Truth Behind Mechanical Polished Surfaces


It has been an unwritten rule for years that the best passive and corrosion resistant
stainless steel surfaces will have a Cr/Fe ratio in excess of 1.5/1 which in many cases is
easily achievable. It is also well known and standard practice in the Pharmaceutical
Industry, the acceptable roughness average of material in production vessels and water
systems is a 15-25Ra value, many times achieved through a mechanical polishing
procedures. It is this procedure that in this writer’s opinion causes many of the problems
experienced today with the formation of the “gray residue” and Class 1 rouge that has
plagued end users for years.
The definition of mechanical polishing is a hand sanding process using various forms of
abrasive media to remove scratches, gouges and other damage from the surface of
materials. The media is applied to the surface using hand held power equipment resulting
in surfaces compliant with ASME-BPE surface finish standards roughness average readings.

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