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topic 5080

Optical Finish for Polished Aluminum


Does anybody know what is the highest level of reflectivity possible from chemical or mechanical polishing of aluminum?

I've been reading about the complexities of producing glass telescope mirrors and then coating them with aluminum to achieve >95% reflectivity. Forgive my ignorance, but I don't know why polished aluminum isn't used instead. (Am considering starting amateur telescope making as a hobby.)

Albert Deme
- Melbourne, Australia


Similar to question #5080, I am also inquiring about reflectivity of polished aluminum. What is the best aluminum material to use? What is the best polishing process to use? How well does polished aluminum retain its finish, how long does it take to oxidize(Environmentally dependent?), does oxidation have a huge impact on reflectivity, can the oxide surface be polished? What protective finishes can be applied to the polished surface to prevent reflective degradation? (And possibly protect for general handling and cleaning).

The application requires mirror surfaces to reflect the infrared energy emitted from a heat source. Element temperature up to 1700 C. Reflectors will be water cooled, rectangular in form, and a variety of lengths.

Design and manufacture: Bespoke automation machinery - Cambridge, England

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