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Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

May, 2004

Painting 6061-T6 Aluminum and Diamond Decking

Q. Would you recommend a paint coating to prevent corrosion to an aluminum diamond deck finish (3003 aluminum)? If left to the natural weather elements (not near salt air), would this surface naturally ozidize to form it's own protective coating?

On 6061-T6 aluminum, I would also ask the same questions as above.

A. Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, you did not tell me what the aluminum diamond decking will be used for. In general, you are probably better off leaving it as is rather than coating it. In a marine environment the aluminum will have a tendency to corrode in the form of small deep pits, but these might not affect the structural integrity of the decking. If you do want to coat the aluminum you will do well to prepare it much as you would your aerospace components. If your corrosion shop has a pretreatment process such as Alodine, (which is the same as you would use on aircraft), you should use it on the aluminum. You can follow with an epoxy primer and polyurethane topcoat, but be aware that as you apply more coats of paint you will diminish the traction of the diamond pattern. If the decking is intended for people to walk on then you do not want to smooth a finish and you might want to sprinkle sand or glass beads into the coating to render it non-skid.

If you don't have the Alodine pretreatment then thoroughly scuff sand and abrade the aluminum to remove all traces of oil, grease and corrosion products. Apply the epoxy and polyurethane as described above.

I hope this will help you but if you have further questions please do not hesitate to write again.

Best wishes,

Ron Joseph

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