As a non-electrolytic process, passivation uses solutions like citric and nitric acids instead of an electrical current used in electropolishing to create a inert oxide layer / film and remove free iron and foreign matter from metal surfaces.
Electropolishing, a non-mechanical interactive process, can be used on objects with complex geometries. The electropolishing process uses a combination of electrolytic chemicals and an electrical current to carefully eliminate imperfections and contaminants of metal part surfaces. This particular process is an alternative to abrasive fine polishing.
Electropolishing can be used to polish, deburr, and smooth metal components whereby doing so also causes material removal to occur including the free irons on the surface of the part. Electropolishing would be the more appropriate approach when aesthetics are necessary. A smoother, polished surface can result from electropolishing.
Passivation, on the other hand, does not change or brighten the surface appearance, and is not an effective method for improving surfaces that have been welded with oxide heat effect scale or heat treated.