Our company manufactures components for electrical assemblies. Some of the parts are made of copper castings that are silver plated. We are considering the idea of replacing some of these parts with aluminum castings. What are your thoughts about this? L. M.
Aluminum tends to corrode more readily than copper if it is not properly finished. This would be particularly so in an uncontrolled environment such as a power substation. In your situation, the aluminum parts would have to be properly electroplated to prevent corrosion. Aluminum is routinely electroplated with good results. The aluminum part is thoroughly cleaned, double zincated, strike plated and then plated with the desired coating. In this type of situation, silver or tin plating would be recommended as the final coating.
Whether the aluminum parts would hold up in the harsh environment for long periods of time, I can’t give you a definitive answer. Perhaps one of our readers can offer some advice on this.