Finite Modeling and Simulation of the Effects of Neutral Electrolytic Pickling Process Parameters on EN 1.4404 Steel Strips

Arif Tirto Aji, Jari Aromaa*, Teemu Tuovinen, Elina Riekki, Mari Lundström

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Downloads (Pure)


Surface treatment via neutral electrolytic pickling (NEP) aims to remove oxide layers and scaling from stainless steel. The objective of this study was to investigate the factors that affect the energy efficiency of the process. This study developed a COMSOL Multiphysics model for the distribution of current across a bipolar steel strip by controlling the following parameters: Na2SO4 concentration, temperature, electrode-to-strip distance, and inter-electrode distance. Full factorial measurements of the electrolyte’s conductivity as well as the steel strip’s and the electrode’s polarization were conducted to provide data for the NEP model. Galvanostatic pulse measurements were performed to calculate transient times during pickling. According to the model, an applied voltage of less than 11 V was insufficient to polarize the steel strip to the potentials needed on both the anodic and cathodic sides. A higher voltage of 11–15 V resulted in anodic current densities of 600–1600 A m−2 and cathodic current densities of 700–2000 A m−2 on the steel strip. These current densities are within the range of previous experimental studies and industrial practices. The model showed that when a steel strip acts as a bipolar electrode, the current’s efficiency decreases, as only a fraction of the strip facing the anodes or cathodes is polarized sufficiently. The galvanostatic tests showed that anodic polarization of the steel strip is easier than cathodic polarization. The slow polarization in the cathodic direction can be improved by using a higher current density. The time needed to polarize stainless steel indicates that the strip’s velocity should be less than 1 m s−1 to give enough time for polarizing the steel strip.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2001
Number of pages15
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • finite modeling
  • neutral electrolytic pickling
  • stainless steel


Dive into the research topics of 'Finite Modeling and Simulation of the Effects of Neutral Electrolytic Pickling Process Parameters on EN 1.4404 Steel Strips'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this