Proper handling and storage of aluminium
It is important that all manufacturers and users of aluminium handle and store the metal in a safe and expedient way. As a rule, aluminium is a robust material that is easy to handle if you take a few simple precautions. Here you can find information about the typical types of damage to aluminium as well as some good advice for the storage and general handling of aluminium.
Transportation and storage
Damage to aluminium usually occurs during transport and constitutes, for example, scratches and wear marks that can lead to subsequent interfacial corrosion. Such damage precludes satisfactory subsequent surface treatment of the workpieces.
Minor transportation damages to the surface of the material therefore affect the appearance of aluminium but otherwise have no effect whatsoever on the mechanical properties of the metal. To prevent such types of damage, it is important that aluminium workpieces be packaged in strong paper, plastic or bubble foil during any moving and transportation to prevent individual surfaces from bumping against each other.
Avoid water and moisture
It is important to keep in mind that aluminium does not withstand water and moisture. Aluminium alloys with high magnesium content are very sensitive to water and condensation, whereas purer alloys have greater resistance. Moisture damage to aluminium appears as white blotches or dark discolouration marks and can be observed, for example, if water or condensation is trapped between aluminium workpieces stacked upon or lying very close to one other.
More information about aluminium corrosion:Aluminium corrosion
To prevent such water and condensation damage to aluminium workpieces, it is therefore important to immediately dry off aluminium that is received wet before putting it in storage. You can choose between two methods for drying aluminium: natural evaporation or use of air driers. If the aluminium is very wet, it should first be wiped with a cloth before it is dried.
Condensation can also occur in the winter if aluminium is transported in a cold lorry and is then unloaded directly into a heated workshop. To prevent condensation formation on the cold aluminium surface, we recommend that the aluminium workpieces remain in their original packaging in the workshop until they acclimatise and get used to the new, warmer climate. The process of acclimatisation typically takes between 36 and 48 hours before unpacking.
Air temperature and climate
As regards temperature and climate in connection with aluminium storage, it is also important to know that aluminium is generally stored at a minimum temperature of +10 degrees Celsius. It should also be mentioned that storage in the open air involves a risk of faster pitting corrosion caused by air pollution from the industrial or urban areas. To avoid marks and corrosion, it is generally a good idea to prevent aluminium from coming in contact with other metals during storage.