BALLISTOL AND ALUMINUM
Aluminum is a so-called ‘amphoteric¡¯ metal. This means that it is easily attacked by both acids and alkaline substances, if not protected properly. In this day and age even the rain is no longer what it used to be. It¡¯s acid rain and, therefore, it can affect aluminum.
Ballistol is of a mildly alkaline nature, which is why it can inhibit not only normal oxidation but also acidic, galvanic and salt water corrosion. However, with a pH of between 8.5-9.0, Ballistol is not alkaline enough to dissolve pure unprotected aluminum.
Most aluminum parts these days are protected by way of artificial oxidation called ‘anodic oxidation’ or shorter ‘anodizing’. It¡¯s like those steel bridges that develop an intended surface rust, which protects them against further corrosion. It¡¯s like fighting fire with fire.
If an anodized aluminum surface, which has been treated with Ballistol, is subjected to intensive mechanical stress such as rubbing or scraping, the artificial oxide layer can be destroyed. If this happens, the pure unprotected aluminum will be exposed to air (oxygen) or acids (rain, hand sweat, salt water), which can cause the aluminum to discolor and develop a grayish marble-ized appearance. Nota bene: the grey effect is not from the Ballistol. It is a secondary effect as a result from the destruction of the anodic oxidation on the surface of the aluminum, which can be the result of normal mechanical abrasion as it occurs with or without Ballistol.
Example 1: If a line on board a ship is tied to an aluminum mast in a way that the wind or the motion of the hull will make it slap against the mast in the same area over and over again, the boat owner may see a grey mark develop in the area of this extended abrasive contact between the line and the mast.
Example 2: If you wear an un-anodized piece of aluminum on your skin e.g. as a pendant around your neck, you will see both your skin and the aluminum gradually turn black. This is the result of the acidic residues from human body perspiration attacking the aluminum. Ballistol will mostly clean the aluminum again.
We have reports from schools in the Hampton Roads/Norfolk, VA, area that they use Ballistol to clean and maintain aluminum panels which are part of the outside siding of the school buildings. Ballistol has also been used to clean and maintain aluminum body parts of RVs. It makes them appear very clean and shiny. No permanent discoloration has been reported so far. Ballistol has also been used to clean and maintain aluminum transmission housings of various motorcycles. When first applied in some instances the gear box turned grey. When applied again after a while, Ballistol appeared to shine the gearbox taking the grey off.
We have no way of knowing how a specific piece of aluminum equipment has been surface treated. Some aluminums are not anodized but instead painted with lacquers or varnishes. These may differ greatly in their consistency and we have naturally no idea what you might run into. Good quality anodizng is not negatively affected by Ballistol, not even in permanent contact. Ballistol will not negatively affect most lacquers and varnishes, but we cannot guarantee that you might not eventually run into one it might affect.
Ballistol has been used for the treatment of aluminum parts for over 90 years and there are no reports about adverse side effects. However, as a measure of prudent precaution, we do not recommend the immersing of a mall unanodized aluminum parts in Ballistol for an extended period of time. In case of doubt, treat a small unobtrusive area with Ballistol first and check for signs of any adverse side effects.
The information contained in this document is based on manufacturer data, customer experience and scientific literature. It is believed to be true and correct to the best of our knowledge. It may be subject to change without notice.
We are certain that you will find more amazing uses for BALLISTOL.
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