I would like to chemically remove the oxide buildup on the exterior fins of
the intercooler for my car. It is made entirely out of Aluminum. I have
already degreased the interior but would like to chemically strip off some
oxide buildup from the external fins without dissolving them. Does anybody
know of a suitable product of have a home made recipe?
You can buy alloy wheel cleaner which I think is basically a phosphoric
acid prep with other items, surfactants ?. I have also used phosphoric
acid based rust removal products which seems to remove the corrsosion
quite well without effecting the aluminium.
Boris Mohar wrote:
The standard solution for cleaning aluminum fins DOES dissolve them; in a
Commercial air conditioning fin cleaner consists of sodium hydroxide (lye)
and detergent. It's usually applied fairly dilute, and allowed to "work"
for a few minutes before thorough rinsing.
The action of the lye releases hydrogen as it dissolves the superficial
surface of the aluminum. The bubbles that result lift not only oxides but
dirt, lint, grease, etc., where it is suspended and held by the detergent.
The detergent also helps remove grease and oil that might interfere with the
action of the lye.
It's a 'tricky' operation. Leave it on too long, and it will, in fact,
dissolve the fins. To little, and the cleaning is incomplete.