Passivation; pickling, that is, acid descaling; electropolishing; and mechanical cleaning are important surface treatments for the successful performance of stainless steel used for piping, pressure vessels, tanks, and machined parts in a wide variety of applications. This article provides an overview of the various types of stainless steels and describes the commonly used cleaning methods, namely, alkaline cleaning, emulsion cleaning, solvent cleaning, vapor degreasing, ultrasonic cleaning, and acid cleaning. Finishing operations of stainless steels, such as grinding, polishing, and buffing, are reviewed. The article also explains the procedures of electrocleaning, electropolishing, electroplating, painting, surface blackening, coloring, terne coatings, and thermal spraying. It includes useful information on the surface modification of stainless steels, namely, ion implantation and laser surface processing. Surface hardening techniques, namely, nitriding, carburizing, boriding, and flame hardening, performed to improve the resistance of stainless steel alloys are also reviewed.
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