What is Pickling?
Various treatment methods are employed on stainless steel to restore its corrosion resistance following operations such as welding, annealing and bending. The stainless steel pickling solution is sometimes referred to as the pickling paste. A commonly used method of surface treatment is pickling. Pickling of stainless steel involves the use of strong acidic solution of nitric acid and hydrofluoric acid.
There is little doubt about the fact that pickling is indeed a very effective method of treating stainless steel. However, it comes as a price. As you may be aware, strong acid solutions are always a health hazard.
When pickling is not carried out in the right way, it poses a major threat to the health and safety of people. It is also quite hazardous to the natural environment. In the age of global warming and climate change, the last thing we need is another case of destroying the greenery of planet earth. Pickling can specifically cause air pollution as the volatile chemicals react and release harmful vapors.
Pickling Paste Danger
The hydrofluoric and nitric acid in the pickling solution are dangerously corrosive chemicals that have the ability to cause grave skin injuries, namely serious skin burns. In addition to that, if you breathe in acidic vapour released from the pickling paste, you may suffer from breathing difficulties and a sore throat. These acidic vapours usually exude a pungent and irritating odour.
The hydrofluoric acid that is contained within the pickling solution is in a diluted state. However, this does not prevent the acid from causing substantial damage. The diluted form of the acid is enough to turn the entire mixture poisonous.
Poisoning can occur if you inhale a considerable amount of the vapour released by the material. When it comes into contact with the skin, serious burns will appear in patches on your skin. As a matter of fact, the hydrofluoric acid has the penetrating ability to pierce the skin and react with calcium in the blood or the bone. If this happens, then you will be in need of emergency medical treatment. Washing the acid off with water will be of very little help.
If such a situation ever arises, one has to apply a special ointment on the affected area. This is a HF ointment that contains calcium gluconate, a compound that binds the fluoride and helps in damage limitation. The pickling process also produces heaps of waste in the form of rinsing water and exhausted pickling solutions. The waste comprises of nitric acid, hydrofluoric acid and heavy metal remnants. As a result, the waste can be considered hazardous.
Pickling Paste Alternative – Electrochemical Cleaning and Cougartron ProPlus
Electrochemical cleaning is deemed as a much better and safer alternative to pickling. It allows the stainless steels to achieve perfect smoothness, and also makes welds corrosion free. In fact, according to some studies, it not only restores the corrosion resistance of steel, but also enhances it to a certain degree.
In addition to that, all the health hazards that are associated with pickling are not to be found in electrochemical. Which as mentioned before is a much safer method of treating stainless steel.
If you are looking for the best electrochemical cleaning solution available in the market today, then shift your attention to Cougartron ProPlus. This is a state of the art stainless steel maintenance system that is sure to be your money’s worth. It makes use of intelligence electronics to provide superior, swifter and safer stainless steel maintenance.
You don’t have to be ultra cautious about the dangers of acid burning into your skin with the Cougartron ProPlus. It’s quality construction and vastly superior functionality will ensure that you are pleased with the results.