Electrolysis for dyeing Stainless Steel?

Discussion in 'Finishing Techniques' started by jasolo, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. jasolo
    jasolo New Member
    I remember from high school days experiments with electrolysis using two copper wires, a battery and a salt (table salt, baking soda) diluted in water. It wasn't the best combination to obtain the hydrolysis of water (hydrogen and oxygen) as in the science book, but you could get some of those gases and changes in the colour of solution and wires. Sometimes the colour was just the copper free of rust and other times was corroded copper or a fine layer of other material. :eek:

    Has anyone tried some kind of electrolysis with the Stainless Steel material from Shapeways? Any chemist in the community? That material is not only steel, but also bronze (copper+tin), and this process could offer us new colours/textures. The only problem is that some of the products could be "toxic", so not suitable for rings, only for decorative models. :confused

    Anyway, one of these days I'll try to recreate those old times, first with copper and later with a SS model I have. Curiously, after reading recently about the topic, I have found many warnings about electrolysis byproducts (chlorine, caustic soda). Well, I remember bad smells and I didn't tried to drink the coloured water, and you can found many videos with students doing it for their science projects, so maybe the danger is high when using extreme parameters (voltage, current, size) that aren't available for students, only for big guys like us. :rolleyes:
  2. jasolo
    jasolo New Member
    And the result is... nothing. I have tried table salt, baking soda and wine vinegar. Some part got as corroded, but I think it was just material from the electrolysis that got trapped in the pores (no polished SS) and I'm not sure with which material (soda? vinegar?) neither the polarity.
  3. DrJekyll
    DrJekyll New Member
    My place of work does a lot of surface treatments including Hard Chrome, Copper, Nickel, Zink and Anodizing. They also do a black pasivation proccess.

    As soon as I get some stainless models printed I will take some in to see whatthe lads can do with them. It's the copper that interests me the most.