Passivation involves making the surface of a material "passive," that is, less affected by environmental factors such as air and water. The process works by removing impurities introduced during welding, fabrication, etc. This returns the metal to its original (pre-machined) state. A micro-coating can also be applied to make the material less chemically reactive.

While stainless steel is naturally resistant to corrosion, passivation is used to add an additional measure of protection after machining. The process has multiple applications in military, firearms, aerospace, and oil and gas industries among others.

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