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topic 6814

Deoxidization of aircraft aluminum


I am a volunteer in a small aviation museum with little money. I am trying to clean the aluminum skin on a 55 year old aircraft and I understand that as fast as I clean it at one end, it will oxidize at the other.

I have two question.

What is the best way for clean this aircraft,twin engine?

What is the best and cheapest way of keeping it from oxidizing?

Barney Biggs
- Vancouver B. C. , Canada


You can never prevent bare aluminum from oxidizing in air. The reason why people commonly think that aluminum is corrosion-resistant is because is corrodes so quickly that it forms a protective layer of oxide that prevents further corrosion. You are incorrect in thinking that there is a way to "clean off" the oxide and keep it "off." The layer of oxide is normal and inevitable unless there is some sort of surface finish present.

Are you merely wanting to clean off the dirt and grime? If so, just use some sort of soap and you should be fine. If you want to completely strip and restore the original surface treatment, then that is a whole different topic. Stripping and refinishing can be difficult and costly. I am not in the aerospace industry and can't give specialized advice on how best to clean and/or restore your aircraft. Maybe someone else will see this letter and add their two cents.

tim neveau
Tim Neveau
Rochester Hills, Michigan


Be careful when cleaning the aluminum. Something with a high alkali content could darken the aircraft.

Ken Tittle
- Detroit, Michigan, USA

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