The problem encountered by metals is that, for the majority of the more commonly used metals such as iron and steel, they will eventually begin to suffer from the effects of corrosion. There are metals, such as brass or aluminium, that don’t react adversely to atmospheric or water-borne chemicals, and these can be used to protect other metals. This is a useful means of having a metal core that is strong and capable of withstanding stress, while at the same time keeping it from rusting. Aluminium plates, to that end, are an ideal choice for a protective shell.
Aluminium plates have the main advantage in that they do not rust — which is a reaction specific to iron-based metals such as steel. They do however corrode, but there is a particular caveat to this fact. While aluminium does corrode, the resultant compound — aluminium-oxide (Al2O3) — is actually stronger than base aluminium. It’s also rather indistinguishable from the metal around it, appearing as a dull grey/white powder. The result is that corrosion actually allows the aluminium plate to develop a protective shell that further protects itself from damage, something that may come in useful. The problem of course is that aluminium-oxide does produce a fairly dull-looking finish to the plates, and removing this compound to restore the shine takes a little more elbow grease than removing rust from iron. You will need particularly strong chemicals to get it off, and a lot of buffing.
Another advantage that aluminium plates hold over other metals is that they’re relatively lightweight, which is why they tend to be used in the construction of devices such as airplanes or space craft. This means that you do not need to worry about the device becoming substantially heavier by protecting it with aluminium, something that may be vital if weight is a valuable commodity, or if the increased weight may increase fuel consumption.
However there are disadvantages. While aluminium is a tough little metal, it is a little softer than iron and as such may not be able withstand as much pressure or strain. In industrial settings, this may mean that you’ll have to consistently repair and replace aluminium plates as they go about their work. Likewise, aluminium does conduct heat and electricity, and as such may pose a health and safety risk if it comes into contact with both.
For further information regarding aluminium plates, metal products and metal supplies, please visit the website of Click Metal, or else contact them directly by phoning 07958 541165.