The contaminant layers must not be too thick, as the electric current would otherwise be hampered. This precision cleaning method is usually applied as last cleaning step before electroplating and after a pre-cleaning with solvents or alkaline baths has been conducted. See German standard DIN 65473.
The component becomes part of a circuit and is used as anode or cathode depending on the type of metal. Together with a corresponding electrode it is lowered onto the bath, which contains an electrolyte. A DC voltage is applied and the anode starts producing oxygen and the cathode hydrogen gas bubbles. These bubbles originate directly from the metal surface under the contaminant layer. Thus the dirt is lifted up and can be solved or emulsified in the bath.
This type of cleaning can be applied to all electric conductive materials. Cleaning time is usually less than 2 minutes.
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