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Cleaning Aluminumn Sheeting

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  • Cleaning Aluminumn Sheeting

    I have a chance to get some very old flat .100 thick aluminumn sheeting for cheap. (I was going to build a air boat hull ) anyhow the surface is so dirty scummy. What would you do to clean it up ?? Chemical washing or ?? thanx mike

  • #2
    Grind up some yummy cat food, mix it with cat beer, and spray it on the entire sheet. Leave it out overnite. Sorry-
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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    • #3
      darryl's method or you could try a product called Nice-n-Easy by Alumin-Nu Corp. What I have was bought at a hardware store many years ago but works really well. Probably a similar product with a different name available at the building stores or hardware stores.
      http://www.aluminnu.com/

      I remember also using this product to etch aluminum before painting, seemed to work but that is not it's intended use.
      Last edited by Ken_Shea; 10-18-2009, 08:22 PM.

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      • #4
        Mix up some lye at about half a cup in a full plastic pail of water together with a couple of teaspoons of dish soap and wash it with that using a mop. Don't do this in the shop, put it outside on some 2x4s on the ground. Don't leave the lye solution on any longer than 10 minutes. Rinse the mop and the aluminum really well with warm water. Then do the other side. Don't leave the lye solution on any longer than 10 minutes. Rinse the mop and the aluminum really well with warm water.

        If necessary rinse and repeat.
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        • #5
          If you want to see something really neat, just dump a little pile of granulated Dran-o on a sheet of that aluminum, pour enough water on the pile to get it soupy, and wait abit.

          In some circles, that is referred to as chemical drilling.

          On a more serious note, pay close attention to Evan's suggestion. It will do a very good job of cleaning the metal. Just make sure it is ALL washed off after the soak. Sodium hydroxide absolutely loves aluminum.
          J.D. Leach
          http://thermionic.uuuq.com

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          • #6
            If you have a lot of surface to cover, see if a local supplier has a product called Zep-A-Lume. It's a combination of mild acids, which you dilute for use.

            I mix it medium-light and use a garden sprayer. Spray on, hose off. Works remarkably well, very easy. A gallon jug lasts a long time.

            Check small-boat suppliers, people use it to keep aluminum skiffs and aluminum trailers clean.

            Works on a lot of stuff- aluminum transmission cases, old aluminum wheels (it'll brighten tarnished areas, but it'll dull polished parts) and so on.

            Doc.
            Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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            • #7
              It's a combination of mild acids, which you dilute for use.
              It contains sulphuric acid at 10 to 20%, phosphoric acid and Hydrofluoric acid at 5 to 10%. Those aren't mild acids, especially the hydrofluoric acid. I make it a rule to avoid anything with hydrofluoric acid as it can cause too much damage to your health without warning until it is too late to treat it.

              It's classed as HazMat and subject to release and disposal reporting.

              BTW, the product info says not to use it on wheels.
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              • #8
                So call them dilute rather than mild. The acids are already dilute in the jug, and in use, one dilutes them even more- I find it still works quite well even at 50:1, though I usually use about 32:1 (one measuring cupful- two cups- to a two-gallon yard sprayer.)

                That's enough to do an 18-foot boat, and it doesn't even hurt the grass.

                I suppose it could be a bit hazardous if you jammed the wand up your nose and pulled the trigger, but I have confidence that at least most of those reading this thread have the self-control to not do that.

                Here's a piece I just finished, and by coincidence, Zepped between these two posts:



                Doc.
                Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                • #9
                  Once diluted for use it isn't much of a hazard. In the jug it has the capability to kill you or cause you to require amputation by simply spilling some on your skin. The stuff in the jug isn't dilute at all being composed of about 30 to 40 percent pure acids. The bad one is the hydrofluoric and it is dangerous in very low concentrations because it is preferentially passed through the skin leaving the water behind. It then soaks into the bones and combines with the calcium turning your bones to rubber like a chicken bone soaked in vinegar.

                  You won't have any idea this is happening for at least several hours and then it will begin to hurt. It apparently feels like you bones are on fire and at that point it is too late to neutralize the acid in your body. A little goes a long way with hydrofluoric acid.

                  I'm being conservative in my description. The MSDS is more graphic.

                  Eyes: Contact with liquid or vapor can cause irritation or severe burns or conjunctivitis, and possible irreversible eye damage. Solutions
                  as dilute as 2% or lower may cause burns.

                  Skin: Both liquid and vapour can cause severe burns, which may not be immediately painful or visible. May be fatal if absorbed through
                  the skin. Causes severe burns with delayed tissue destruction. Substance is rapidly absorbed through the skin. Penetration may
                  continue for several days. Causes severe tissue necrosis and bone destruction. May cause hypocalcemia and death. Solutions as dilute
                  as 2% or lower may cause burns.
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                  • #10
                    my chem professor told us that a relatively small amount of hydrofluoric acid spilled on your skin would lead to basically unstoppable cardiac arrest within a few hours of exposure.

                    it can disperse through tissue fast enough that it screws up your nerves in the process and you won't feel any pain initially, but it will turn into excruicating pain, then you'll almost certainly die soon afterwards.

                    iirc, it's even more dangerous if you get it in your eyes.
                    -paul

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Evan
                      I'm being conservative in my description. The MSDS is more graphic.
                      -For someone that plays with methylene chloride, you seem oddly worried about how other people use dilute acids.

                      But regardless: Zep-A-Lume is a product designed and sold for precisely the purpose Madman has in mind. It's relatively inexpensive- though it can be somewhat hard to find- easy to use, very effective, and, as your experience with other toxic substances shows, perfectly safe when handled properly.

                      Doc.
                      Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                      • #12
                        For someone that plays with methylene chloride, you seem oddly worried about how other people use dilute acids.
                        I don't "play" with methylene chloride any more than I play with molten lead. The issue with hydrofluoric acid is the ease with with it can be absorbed through the skin and the extreme effects that it produces. I have made it abundantly clear in my postings that methylene chloride is on the chemical "bad actor" list.

                        From the post you linked to:
                        "I also use chemical polishing to really clean up the machine marks. The chemical is Methylene Chloride, one of the top list bad actors so a lot of care must be taken to avoid over exposure. "

                        I posted about the Zep-a-Lume as a warning to anybody considering using it since you did not. It certainly is a product that poses a real hazard if used carelessly.
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                        • #13
                          Speaking of acid, PTFE; polytetrafluoroethylene breaks down into Hydrofluoric acid if overheated.

                          One of the Model Engineering magazines recommended keeping a tube of calcium paste handy to treat burns.


                          Emergency crews are also warned about the presence of fluorinated rubber components in burnt out vehicles.
                          Paul Compton
                          www.morini-mania.co.uk
                          http://www.youtube.com/user/EVguru

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Evan
                            I posted about the Zep-a-Lume as a warning to anybody considering using it since you did not. It certainly is a product that poses a real hazard if used carelessly.
                            -Gosh, I assumed that anyone that was going to use the stuff was literate enough to, you know, be able to actually read the warnings and directions on the jug.

                            Unlike some people I could mention, I don't automatically assume that everyone else is stupid.

                            Doc.
                            Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                            • #15
                              Gosh, I assumed that anyone that was going to use the stuff was literate enough to, you know, be able to actually read the warnings and directions on the jug.

                              Unlike some people I could mention, I don't automatically assume that everyone else is stupid.
                              As someone who likes to play with hydrofluoric acid you would still be the first to criticize me if I didn't point out the hazards of methylene chloride when I post about it even though it is clearly spelled out on the container you buy it in. I don't automatically assume that everyone is a hypocrite but in your case I will make an exception, especially since you misleadingly characterized the material as a mixture of "mild acids" and obviously did not read the directions since it is not to be used on wheels as you suggested.
                              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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