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topic 0780

Need help to clean "oxidized" aluminum


Need suggestions on cleaning 5086 Aluminum plate that has been oxidized while exposed to atmosphere. Are there any ideas from industry on how I might be able to use (preferably liquid) compounds to remove this "oxidation" and restore the plate to "weldable" condition?


Geoff Hall

Your best bet is an acidic etch. It can either be a phosphoric blend, or a blend of phosphoric, hydrofluoric, nitric. When the part is oxidized the actual substrate has been damaged. You are likely to see some unevenness, so the etch will have to be rather aggressive depending on the severity of the oxidization. Temperature should be between 110 to 140.

There are a lot of proprietary products on the market.

Good Luck.

Dan Zinman

I am interested in finding a way to clean and restore hand forged aluminum pieces. I have quite a few and some are in need of restoration.Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Mary B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Heidelberg, Mississippi

January 3, 2009

Hi, Mary. I think you will want to polish them back to a suitable look with a product like Mother's Mag & Aluminum Polish [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. I believe you'll want to use it on a buffing machine, or at least a grinder or electric drill with a buffing pad, as doing this by hand sounds prohibitive.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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