CERN Accelerating science

European Organization for Nuclear Research

Titanium polishing

Titanium polishing


Titanium polishing is a process to polish titanium and titanium alloys to a high degree of surface smoothness, typically of a nanometer level. The polishing method is based on an electrolytic process in which material is removed from the surface by a chemical reaction powered by applying a low voltage.
Technology used at CERN to polish the cavities of the accelerators to obtain an ultra smooth surface and to avoid sparks.

Area of expertise

Materials Science


  • Vacuum technology
  • Medical industry: implants, tools
  • Jewelleries, spectacles frames, watches
  • Aerospace: turbine blades
  • Electronics, storage discs

Innovative features

  • The chemical composition of the bath
  • The polishing method


  • Temperature of bath: 10 – 30 degrees C
  • Achievable roughness: Ra of around 0.05 to 0.10 µm
  • Voltage: approximately 10 V
  • Polishing speed: 1 – 2,5 µm/minute. Applied current: 5 – 14 A/dm2


  • The metal can be polished down to the nanometer level
  • Enables efficient detection of flaws in the surface
  • The process can be run with low power consumption
  • Creates a shining, mirror like appearance
  • Provides easy maintenance of hygienically clean surfaces due to reduced particle adhesion
  • There is practically no size limitation on the item to be polished
  • Provides metallic purity and chemical passivity

Intellectual Property status

Available for licensing and partnerships. Patent granted in Europe, France, Russia and USA. PCT. WO0100906.


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