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Old 04-09-2008
TheFrog TheFrog is offline
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Passivation

One often overlooked detail in stainless parts is the surface treatment. Yes, 316 is more resistant to rust than 304. But 316 can rust (at least surface stain) as well if the surface is not "passivated". Believe me, doctors are not happy if you give their instruments rust after just a couple cleaning/sterilization cycles. Passivation helps dramatically in reducing this. Of course, the chandler will probably not know what is being sold. Even in medical instruments you cannot tell and many vendors don't know, but this can be one of the big differences between high quality instruments and the cheap imitations from Asia.

For those who are curious passivation is an acid bath process that removes the iron oxides from the surface of the stainless. Every piece of stainless has some iron oxide on the surface after it is machined/formed. Removing these iron oxide seeds reduces the locations for rust to start.
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