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23 May 2017
Working on an outdoor project? When it comes to the outdoors, each material can have a very different role to play and can react differently when exposed to the elements.
Whether you're looking for something sturdy, or something which will never corrode, here's our advice for using metals outdoors:
- Mild steel is the most common and least expensive metal but it corrodes quickly if exposed to moisture. To prevent corrosion steel is normally galvanised after cutting and then a decorative powder coat applied – this can be specified for outdoor use.
- Aluminium forms a protective Oxide coating when exposed to air which limits corrosion. However, repeated wet / dry cycles can stain the aluminium surface and this is difficult to remove. It's best to protect the surface with either powder coating, or anodising (where the aluminium’s natural sheen can be seen).
- Stainless steel is corrosion resistant, not corrosion proof. If using in an outdoor situation, particularly where fumes from traffic are present, you may consider specifying 316 grade Stainless as this is much more resistant to corrosion.
- Brass and copper are good but expensive outdoor materials. They don’t tend to corrode but eventually will suffer from patination of the surface - a clear lacquer can be applied which could protect the surface for a long time.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning bi-metallic corrosion. This is where two or more dissimilar metals are touching, for example aluminium and stainless steel – causing electrolysis where one of the metals becomes a sacrificial anode and dissolves. This can happen in hours!
If you're planning an ourdoor project, our team is always on hand to offer advice.
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Jim Douglas - Senior Hire Production Engineer - Autograph Sound Recording