Corrosion Resistance: Aluminum Extrusions for Marine Industry

One of the many reasons why manufacturers choose aluminum is for its excellent corrosion resistance. In addition to a natural oxidation layer that forms when aluminum comes in contact with oxygen, it is possible to provide further protection for custom aluminum extrusions through the use of various options for coatings. As a result, many products can be designed specifically to withstand the harsh environments of the New England marine industry. Everything from boat railings to aluminum docks, decorative trim to sail pulleys, call all be made effectively with quality custom aluminum extrusions for long-lasting results.

What Causes Corrosion?

When it comes right down to it, corrosion is more of a function of the operating environment than anything else. However, the alloy and design that you choose for the parts or products is essential. The more you can understand all of the mechanisms behind corrosion, the easier it will be to make choices that will allow for better design and fabrication to prevent it. Engineers who regularly work with aluminum study how to improve corrosion resistance based upon the form that the corrosion can take, the rate or severity of the attack, and the preventive measures that can be used to reduce premature failure. Compared to other metals, there are distinct advantages to choosing to work with aluminum in the New England marine industry and for marine products all over the world.

Studies have shown that by coating the aluminum, either with a professional paint that exceeds industry standards or through powder-coating and anodizing, sufficient protective measures can make it appropriate for many types of marine use. Pontoons, porthole frames, and even aluminum docks can be improved upon by using these methods. In addition, just by simply washing the materials twice yearly with a mild detergent and a thorough rinsing, it is possible to reduce pitting and maintain the surface finish of the custom aluminum extrusions and enhance corrosion resistance. Laboratory testing of the specific part or product in various conditions can help find ways to increase the durability of the product and resistance to the environment.

The Best Coatings for Marine Industry Products

Silver City Aluminum offers a variety of custom aluminum coatings that can be used to improve corrosion resistance for all of the standard and custom aluminum extrusions that we produce for our clients. Clear coatings, custom anodizing, color anodizing, powder-coating, and painting, are just some of the top choices selected by our customers to enhance their aluminum parts and products for use in the New England marine industry. Freshwater, saltwater, and even for products used in the vicinity of the water, depending on the product and use, it can be extremely important to consider corrosion resistance and find ways to protect further and enhance the natural abilities of the aluminum materials.

Things to consider for corrosion resistance include exposure to:

  • freshwater or saltwater
  • high moisture and humidity
  • salt spray
  • fuel and petroleum products
  • chemicals and lubricants
  • cleaners
  • UV ray and sun exposure

A Cost-Effective Solution

Not only are standard and custom aluminum extrusions for the marine industry a great way to provide quality products and parts that feature much-needed corrosion resistance for the environment, but they are also a very cost-effective solution compared to other materials. For example, stainless steel can be costly to use and manufacture. However, the use of anodized aluminum materials for things like porthole frames, railings, and aluminum docks, also provides other benefits, including reduced weight, long-lasting durability, and increased properties of anodized products, such as hardness and resistance.

Many of today’s boat builders will use specially anodized aluminum to prevent oxidation of vessels used in lake water, river water, or even saltwater. Aluminum is selected for everything from boat pontoons to sail pulleys, stairway trimming to decorative trim, and many other places where stainless steel or other similar materials might be employed. This can reduce the cost of manufacturing the boat, lowering the cost for consumers, while creating a better quality product. There are many other ways that custom aluminum extrusions are used within the global marine industry.

To learn more about how to prevent corrosion through design or other ways to take advantage of the natural corrosion resistance of aluminum parts and products, make sure to speak with one of our engineers or technicians. Contact Silver City by calling 508-542-7200 or use our online contact form to submit your order or questions direct.