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Aluminum is one of the most useful metals on earth, as it is light weight, can be easily machined, and possesses good thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity. As a result, it is one of the most common metals used for sealing purposes in a variety of different applications. Although useful and beneficial in many ways, aluminum seals may be vulnerable in certain environments, and may require a protective coating to be applied overtop depending on the application that it is use in and use for.
It's important to analyze the type of conditions and situations that the aluminum seals will be in when deciding whether or not it is suitable and appropriate. The analysis will determine whether they will be suitable as-is or whether a protective coating will be needed to prevent the seals from decaying or losing their efficiency.
Here are 3 specific situations or conditions that you need to be aware of when using aluminum seals, as a protective coating becomes absolutely necessary.
Highly Corrosive Environments
Corrosion can be separated into two categories: chemical corrosion and pH-based corrosion. Both can have detrimental effects on the integrity of the aluminum seal. Pure aluminum—especially marine grade aluminum like 6061—is generally quite resistant to chemical corrosion; however, if other alloys may also be used in the aluminum seals, the chemical corrosion resistance properties may be affected. In these situations, a protective coating will need to be applied. The type of coating recommended will depend on the type of alloy that will be used, among many other factors.
In addition to chemical corrosion, aluminum seals are also susceptible in high or low pH environments. The protective oxide film present on aluminum is only stable between a pH of 4.5 to 8.5. If the aluminum seals will be in contact with substances or stored in an environment that possess a pH outside of this range, it will need to have a protective coating applied over the top.
Contact with Abrasive Materials
Although aluminum is chemical corrosion resistant, it does not possess very good abrasion resistance. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. The fact that aluminum does not have very good abrasion resistance makes it ideal for machining purposes. It is easy to cut, and will not wear out cutting tools; however, this prevents the aluminum seal from being able to offer protection in situations where it will come into constant contact with abrasive materials.
As a result, aluminum seals that will be constantly tossed around or in contact with abrasive materials require a protective coating overtop. There are plenty of different types of chemicals that can be applied to the aluminum seals. A popular technique that is commonly used is known as vapor deposition.
Situations with Constant Galling
Another situation where aluminum seals require a protective coating is if galling will occur. Galling is a phenomenon that occurs when two similar metals are slid against each other. Because aluminum is considered to be a ductile metal, it will be extremely susceptible to the effects of galling. As a result, these seals will also require a type of protective coating overtop to maintain its structural integrity. While there are many different types of chemicals that can be used as a protective coating, anodizing the aluminum will generally be sufficient in combatting the effects of galling.
Aluminum seals are extremely popular and are commonly used in many different applications in various industries. Although aluminum seals can provide optimal protection and can act as an excellent barrier in most situations, keep in mind that this metal isn't foolproof.
For more information, contact companies that specialize in aluminum seals.Share