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Old 05-06-2012, 07:28   #1
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Sunbrella and Aluminum reaction?

I say aluminum, but i was born aluminium...

Question: does anyone have experience or knowledge of the specific degradation obvious where a good pretty new mid blue sunbrella 'tarp' is permanently fastened over an aluminum tube. The fabric is clearly discolored on the strip immediately over the frame. It is unlikely to be wear since this is the top of a simple level multi hoop bimini. Is its a chemical reaction?. Is the strength of the fabric affected? any past solutions?
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:38   #2
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Re: Sunbrella and Aluminum reaction?

Im thinking its the oxidation from the aluminum absorbed into the weave of the sunbrella. Discolored light or dark?
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:24   #3
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Re: Sunbrella and Aluminum reaction?

Interesting comment. It is light and very visible on the darker blue. Would that be damaging the fabric is the next question? Wrapping the tubes appears to work. Is the oxidation from air or water corrosion - i guess both?
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:54   #4
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Re: Sunbrella and Aluminum reaction?

I see extra corrosion on the tubing when I take a bimini off that has been up for extended periods. I guess from the fabric holding in the moisture. With sunbrellas 8 yr limited warranty shouldnt be too much of a concern. I recently did a warranty job for someone whos color faded prematurely. He got a completely new top to replace one that was almost 5yrs old. I thought he made out like a bandit. The factory didnt want to pay my costs cash but gave me two full rolls of fabric for doing it and that made me happy.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:10   #5
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Re: Sunbrella and Aluminum reaction?

aluminum oxide forms naturally on aluminum. SUnbrella may be keeping the alum damp causing corrosion though.
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Old 05-06-2012, 17:51   #6
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Re: Sunbrella and Aluminum reaction?

Using non anodised tubing perhaps?

We have anodised tubing/sunbrella. No reactions.

Non anodised will be the oxidation transferred onto the fabric. Then the patch will be darker.

If it is lighter, I would suspect overtensioning of the canvas (not too likely though) or else maybe something rubbing the cloth there? (Sunbrella gets lighter collor where chaffed).

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Old 06-06-2012, 08:09   #7
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Re: Sunbrella and Aluminum reaction?

very informative and relevant, all! this is what a forum should be!

yes its raw ally, so i guess wrap the tubes. Do you know if there is a good way to wash the oxide out of the fabric - it is still fairly small amount? has the fabric been eaten at all?
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:03   #8
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Re: Sunbrella and Aluminum reaction?

[QUOTE=

Non anodised will be the oxidation transferred onto the fabric. Then the patch will be darker.


Hmmmm when I see oxidized aluminum its white.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:14   #9
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Re: Sunbrella and Aluminum reaction?

Aluminum oxide is a darker gray color. I see it on my own boat all the time. The only chemical that I know of, phosphoric acid, that can dissolve aluminum oxide is so reactive that it most likely would also damage the fabric.

The only idea I have is to try a pressure washer and blast what you can out of the fabric.
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Old 09-06-2012, 14:57   #10
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Re: Sunbrella and Aluminum reaction?

I'd all the Sunbrella folks to ask about special cleaners. But instead of getting all exotic, I think putting the bimini in a bog front-loading commercial washing machine and running it through with warm water and a good detergent will probably clean it out as well as anything else. Then reapply something like 303 to restore some of the water resistance and UV protection and close up any "pores" in the fabric that might trap more crud more easily.
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Old 09-06-2012, 15:46   #11
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Re: Sunbrella and Aluminum reaction?

Care and feeding of Sunbrella, from Glen Raven, the mfg

Sunbrella: Care and cleaning
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