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Chemical brightening (bright dipping) and electrolytic brightening (electropolishing) are essentially selective-dissolution processes, in which the high points of a rough surface of aluminum are attacked more rapidly than the depressions, and the peaks and valleys are smoothed to produce a bright and beautiful finish. This article discusses the metallurgical factors, optical factors, and applications of the chemical and electrolytic brightening. It compares the chemical brightening and electrolytic brightening, and presents the advantages of the chemical and electrolytic brightening processes in terms of performance and economy. The article describes the phosphoric-nitric acid baths and phosphoric-sulfuric acid baths used for chemical brightening. Solution compositions and operating conditions for three commercial electropolishing processes, as well as for suitable post-treatments, are presented in a table.

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