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Old 03-02-2004
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unfreezing aluminum oxide?

I want to salvage an old roller furling that came with my boat but the aluminum is so oxidized in one area that it has practically welded 2 components (that should normally be able to slide one over the other) together. Brute force isn''t working and I was wondering if there is a sovent I can use to help dissolve the corrosion.

Thanks for any ideas.
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Old 03-03-2004
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unfreezing aluminum oxide?

I talked to one of the MEMS process guys here at work, where alumminum oxide is used as a dielectric material. Industry uses a 30% solution of Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) by weight in water, heated to 80 degrees celcius to etch aluminium oxide.

Etch rates are around 800 Angstroms per minute. There are 10,000 Angstroms in one micrometer, and twenty five micrometers in .001 inches.

I estimate that etching 1/64" would take 3.3 days in a heated solution. And I don''t know what else would get etched, or if it eats the base aluminuim material.

Now that I have gone over the technical top...the guy who runs the boat yard I''m in told me that they soak jackstand screws in hydraulic fliud to remove rust and free the adjusting nuts. The hydraulic fluid has a rust inhibitor in it to keep hydraulic pistons from corroding.

Good Luck - Doug
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Old 03-03-2004
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unfreezing aluminum oxide?

If the parts are not too badly oxidized, you could use a little heat (propane torch) to get them to move. Adding a little rust buster after it''s hot, which soaks into the oxide. Don''t breath the smoke!! You''ll want to have one part in a vice with soft jaws and something to grip the other positively. You''ll need to heat the outer part without heating the inner part as quickly as possible and get them moving and apart as fast as possible once they start moving. Once they are apart they can be sanded/blasted and polished to a fairly smooth finish. If they are badly pitted they will corrode quickly again.
P.S. Motor oil is the best lubricant for aluminum other than anti-seize which is messy.
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