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topic 59003

Aluminum finishing options with good heat transfer

October 25, 2012

Q. I am working on a project that requires adding a finish coat to all but one side of an aluminum block. I was hoping that someone could make a suggestion about the best finishes to try that meet the requirements below.

The finish coat needs to handle continuous operating temperatures from -65 °C to 250 °C. The finish also needs to have good heat transfers characteristics (as close to aluminum as possible) along with a smooth finish.

The side that is not being finished has a coating with good resistance to hydrochloric and acetic acid but poor resistance to chromic, hydrofluoric, nitric, and sulphuric acid. This coating needs to be applied before the finish coat due to processing restrictions.

From what I have found on-line so far I am leaning towards electroless Ni plating but do not know if this is the best option.

Any help or advice is appreciated.


Blake Finstad
- Minneapolis, Minnesota

October 26, 2012

It would help if you told us why you need the coating on the aluminum block.

jim treglio portrait
Jim Treglio - scwineryreview.com
PVD Consultant & Wine Lover - San Diego, California

October 29, 2012

Q. The coating is mainly for cosmetics and in some cases light wear resistance. The aluminum block is a heat sink so that is why it needs to have good heat transfer properties.

Blake Finstad
- Minneapolis, Minnesota

First of two simultaneous responses -- November 1, 2012

A. Blake

Have you considered anodize? Mask the one surface from the process.

Willie Alexander
- Colorado Springs, Colorado

Second of two simultaneous responses -- November 1, 2012

A. For the best heat transfer (heat sinks) you need a smooth surface regardless of appearance. The greater the exposed surface area, the greater the transfer. Mass finishing can accomplish that task.

tony kenton
AF Kenton
Hatboro, Pennsylvania

November 5, 2012

Q. We did consider anodizing but were worried about the type of acids used in the process. The coating that is applied to the 1 side is porous so it is difficult to mask it effectively. There is a chance that the acids could wick into the coating from the edge.

Blake Finstad
- Minneapolis

November 8, 2012

A. I understand that electroplated bright nickel "fills", i.e., levels the surface. I don't know if aluminum can be electroplated, but maybe this would be solution??

jim treglio portrait
Jim Treglio - scwineryreview.com
PVD Consultant & Wine Lover - San Diego, California
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