14 Secrets You Should Know Before You Work on Aluminum

  • By: Monica Shulz

Aluminum is one of the common metals found in the earth’s crust. The light, malleable and ductile metal has high thermal conductivity. Bauxite ore, also known as hydrated alumina, has its origin in the earth’s crust. By refining this ore, we get aluminum. Pure aluminum, directly derived from the ore, is very soft and useful for commercial purposes. Nowadays, it has lots of applications, like soda cans, food packaging, and cookware. However, although there is an increase in aluminium use, we do not know some facts about it. When you use aluminum products, you have to know the right way to take care of them.

Here, we have provided you with some useful information on how to deal with aluminum items.

How To Keep Aluminum From Oxidizing?

To prevent aluminum from oxidizing, you can store your aluminum items in some climate-controlled environment. It is also better to coat the aluminum surface with a protective layer. The protective coating will save aluminum from different environmental factors. The best aluminum product manufacturers also apply a coating to prevent corrosion. Aluminum item does not easily rust. But, when it starts corroding, it loses its structural integrity. This metal has some chemical properties, highly reactive to oxygen. Thus, oxygen atoms can cling to the aluminum surface resulting in oxidization.

Can You Weld Aluminum With DC TIG?

Yes, you can weld aluminum with DC TIG. While using TIG welders for aluminum, most of us apply AC (Alternating Current). However, AC can cause scrubbing effects on your aluminum surface and break up oxides. You will not find the best weld quality. Thus, you can use DC (Direct Current) for TIG welding of aluminum. In some cases, DC can be a better option. To simplify the TIG welding process, we have provided some tips.

Learn the difference between AC and DC for aluminum TIG welding

  • Choose materials rightly.
  • Apply proper techniques.
  • Clean the aluminum.
  • Choose a foot pedal for amperage.
  • Use the shielding gas, electrode, and rods.

How Do You Keep Aluminum From Tarnishing?

To keep aluminum from tarnishing, you can apply a special sealant on the aluminum surface. Use a sponge for wiping the sealant over the surface. When the sealant is dry, you will find a shiny look. Another option for you is to buy metal wax to treat aluminum. This special wax protects aluminum from debris and dirt. However, you need to reapply it every 3 to 4 months to keep up its effectiveness.

How Do You Neutralize Aluminum Corrosion?

You can neutralize aluminum corrosion by combining lemon juice with distilled water and gently rub it against the affected part by using a scrubbing pad. Take a little amount of the acidic liquid (2 tablespoons) and distilled water (1 quart) to prepare a solution. It helps in removing any type of aluminum corrosion.

Does Vinegar Clean Aluminum?

Yes, you can use white vinegar (1 tablespoon) and blend it with some warm water (2 cups). This is a perfect ratio to clean aluminum products with this solution. Take a non-abrasive pad and put it into the solution. Use the pad for cleaning the aluminum surface.

However, as vinegar is acidic, you must not let it sit on your aluminum items for several hours. This acid may cause corrosion and ultimately damage your aluminum products. Thus, while using vinegar for cleaning, you need to be careful.

What Is The Best Cleaner For Aluminum?

The best cleaner for aluminum is to apply cleaning agent with multiple uses to get the best value. Chemicals used in these cleaners help in dissolving stains oxidation, tarnish, and corrosion. Some versatile cleaners are also effective in cleaning galvanized steel and non-ferrous metal.

Solutions with aluminum and acid are best for aluminum cleaning purposes. Acid cleaners may contain phosphoric and sulfuric acids. Hydrofluoric acid, combined with them, acts as an activator.

Similarly, alkaline cleaners have sodium hydroxide solution to give you the desired result.

Does Brasso Clean Aluminum?

Yes, Brasso can clean aluminum. Brasso is a reliable metal polish intended to remove stains and tarnish from copper, brass, aluminum and stainless steel. Available in liquid form, you may apply it directly to your metal items. You can also use impregnated wadding pads to use brasso for cleaning aluminum. One of the best facts is that brass has a special formulation causing no scratches to the fine metals. It is safe to use soft-bristled brass to apply it. Brasso will not harm the aluminum surface, and you can use your aluminum items for several years while retaining a clean look.

Will Coke Clean Aluminum?

Yes, you can apply coke to clean your aluminum items. Coke is a carbonated liquid that has the potential to get dissolved with metal oxides. It helps in breaking up the corrosion and rust on alloys and metals, like aluminum. Apply some coke to the corroded spot. Then, scrub it gently using a foil. You need to repeat this process until you find the rust and corrosion started flaking off the surface. Hence, you can buy cans of coke to treat aluminum. After treating the surface with coke, you have to use a soapy solution to remove debris.

Is Baking Soda Safe On Aluminum?

Yes, you can use baking soda safely for your aluminum items. Scrub the baking soda against the aluminum surface and remove stains easily. But, it is better to avoid using this alkaline sodium bicarbonate formula for your aluminum cookware, like pots and pans, as it can discolor the surface. The safest trick for you is to rinse the surface thoroughly after apply baking soda. With this preventive step, you can save your aluminum item from damages.

Does Powder Coating Weaken Aluminum?

Yes, powder coating can weaken aluminum. Aluminum surfaces contain aluminum oxide, and you must remove it before starting the powder coating process. Aluminum has a smooth surface, it is better to roughen it before the coating is applied.

6061 Aluminum is an aluminum alloy with T-6 temper designation. You have to soften the temper under some heat conditions. Powder coating ovens working at 400F may lower the aluminum alloy temper.

However, as powder coating needs heat, it can weaken the metal pre-maturely. Some aluminum wheel makers say that the application of powder coating affects their warranty. Therefore, you may avoid applying any powder coating for aluminum.

Do Brass And Aluminum React?

You may not see noticeable negative effects for the close contact of aluminum with brass. When there is an electrical contact of aluminum and brass, you can find anodic corrosion effects. Aluminum ions will leave the solutions, while the brass will have hydroxyl ions. These are some scientific facts about the contact of aluminum with brass. But, you may not notice any big reaction of aluminum with brass. You can use these elements together. Still, it is better to avoid electrical contacts with brass and aluminum.

Does Steel React With Aluminum?

Yes, steel reacts with aluminum. The use of stainless steel with aluminum can result in galvanic corrosion.  Galvanic corrosion refers to the electron transfer to the cathode of a different material. This corrosion can destroy the metal slowly. Also, rainwater and humidity can contact electrolytes and trigger the electron transfer process. Based on the electrolyte’s resistance level, you may find a faster electron transfer.

Do I Need To Prime Aluminum Before Painting?

Yes, it is better to apply a primer before painting the aluminum surface. By using the primer, you can make your aluminum paint long-lasting and look shiny. However, you need to buy the best quality primer that works best for your aluminum items. The premium primer can create a durable coat on the surface, and you can create a strong bond with the paint. Moreover, the application of primer may result in peeling, flaking, and blistering problems. You can apply more than 2 light coats to get the best result. Without primer, the paint will not last long, and there will be a problem of oxidation.

Do I Need A Spool Gun To Weld Aluminum?

Yes, you can successfully weld aluminum using MIG welders. As a spool gun is costly, you may look for this alternative. To accomplish the task, you have to loosen your spring tension and avoid snapping problems of the wire. You will find it pulling through your feed rollers. Moreover, you have to maintain the straight position of the liner and weld lead.

When you use MIG welder, you have to learn the settings to manage your aluminum wire. Make proper adjustments to start the welding process. You must also wear safety gears and use drive rollers to manage the aluminum wires. You need to have these kits for the aluminum welding process.

A Spool Gun To Weld Aluminum