Aluminium Fittings and the Environment: Everything You Need to Know About Corrosion

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Aluminium Fittings and the Environment: Everything You Need to Know About Corrosion

24 February 2017
 Categories: , Blog

Corrosion is one of the most important aspects you must consider when buying metal fittings. Additionally, you must also think of the methods available to fabricators when it comes to preventing environmental corrosion. One of the top benefits of aluminium is that it allows fabricators to use several techniques to prevent corrosion. However, understanding how aluminium responds to various environments it is installed in will help you make the most of your fittings. It will also help you match the right protective coating to certain environments. Here is a look at how aluminium responds to various environments:

Aluminium Fittings in Water and Wet Substrates

The rate at which any metal corrodes in water depends on the composition of that water. Particularly, aluminium faces a great challenge when it is exposed to water that has heavy metals and chloride salts. In fresh water, there is a minimal risk of pitting, which you can prevent by cleaning your fittings regularly. Pitting refers to the formation of tiny holes on the surface of the metal. Household fittings such as aluminium sinks can go for decades without pitting just because you clean them regularly.   

If you intend to use the fittings in saline or marine water, ask the vendor for fittings made from an alloy of aluminium and magnesium. For optimum durability, the alloy should contain more than 2.5 percent of magnesium.

Aluminium Fittings in Soil

Even though soil may have the same colour and particles, it varies in terms of mineral composition, pH, organic materials and electrical conductivity. This means that some soils are bound to corrode your aluminium fittings faster than other substrates would. It is hard to predict how long the aluminium fittings will last in the soil. To be safe, make sure that any aluminium poles and fittings have a protective coating of bitumen on sections that are in contact with the soil. This will save you the trouble of hiring a soil specialist to examine its chemical composition and how much damage it will have on the fittings.

Aluminium Fittings and Alkaline Building Materials

Alkaline building materials such as wet mortar leave superficial stains on the surface of the aluminium fittings. Since the stains are difficult and tedious to get rid of, it is important to prevent them at all costs. You can do this by coating the fittings with suitable paint or bitumen, all of which can stand up to the corrosive alkaline surroundings.